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Coping with Attention, Thinking, or Memory Problems in Childhood Cancer

cognitiveSymptom 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.

Cognitive problems, also known as cognitive dysfunction or “chemo brain,” occur when one has trouble processing information, which includes mental tasks related to attention span, thinking, and short-term memory.

Up to 75% of individuals with cancer experience cognitive problems during treatment, and up to 35% have issues that continue for months after treatment has finished.

Young children (age 5 and younger) are more likely to have long-term cognitive problems, especially those who receive radiation therapy that is directed at the head, neck, or spinal cord; total body radiation; and/or chemotherapy delivered directly into the spine (intrathecal chemotherapy) or the brain (intraventricular chemotherapy). These cognitive problems can occur months or years after treatment ends and can continue into adulthood.

These difficulties generally vary in severity and often make it difficult to accomplish daily activities. If your child is experiencing serious cognitive problems, it is important that you discuss this with their doctor or a member of their health care team regarding ways to manage these issues.


Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Cognitive Problems on our static page, Attention, Thinking, or Memory Problems



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