Chemobrain in Childhood Cancer
Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.
Around 70% of cancer survivors report difficulties with memory and concentration after undergoing chemotherapy – this is conversationally referred to as “Chemobrain,” which is described as a mental clouding or fogginess, during and after cancer treatment.
Chemobrain refers to the cognitive impairment that can occur after cancer treatment. It’s not limited to people who undergo chemotherapy (surgery and radiation can also contribute), but it’s more noticeable if one has undergone chemotherapy.
Doctors used to dismiss patients who complained of brain fog after cancer treatment. It’s still unclear exactly how many patients among the 15-million-plus cancer survivors are affected.
Symptoms of chemobrain can be very frustrating because no matter how well your child speaks or writes, it can cause them to forget words that they have used often, making them have to resort to saying “that thing” or “the thing” instead of “that car” or “the cat” for instance.
Chemobrain is partially based on body and mind fatigue. Animal studies have shown that chemotherapy may cause temporary reductions in cell growth in brain areas (e.g. the hippocampus) that control learning and memory.
Perhaps the chemistry of cancer — the underlying cellular mechanisms, and inflammatory processes triggered by the tumors — are the factors that affect a person’s brain function, but although the causes may differ, the effects are largely the same.
Why post-chemotherapy brain function issues are so highly varied is the “million-dollar question. There is a certain percentage of individuals who do have some subtle cognitive issues post-treatment, but even though they’re subtle, they can be life-changing and concerning for patients.
According to Dr. Lynda Vrooman, the associate director of Dana-Farber’s Perini Clinic for survivors of childhood cancer, many chemotherapies can affect the brain –
“We generally recommend survivors who have received treatment with these risks consider formal neuropsychologic testing. This can be helpful in developing a plan to support the survivor medically, academically, and socially.”
Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Chemobrain on our static page, Chemobrain in Childhood Cancer
Posted on 21 May, 2018, in Blog, Side Effects and tagged cancer, cancer cells, Cancer Survivor, cancer treatment, Chemobrain, Chemotherapy, Chemotherapy Treatment, childhood cancer, Children with Cancer, LFCT, Little Fighters Cancer Trust, side effects. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.