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Description: Does chemo therapy have an impact upon brain functioning? If so, what are the impacts, how does chemo therapy affect the brain and how permanent are the results?

Source: Science Daily: Cancer and chemo brain: Cancer diagnosis affects cognitive function

Date: April 17, 2015

CHemo Brain

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Chemo brain and physical brain changes

What is chemo brain video of talk by Tracy Vannorsdall PhD

Health psychologists and oncologists are increasingly discussing the impact that chemo therapies can have on brain or cognitive functioning. At issue are the nature and extent of the effects that diagnosis and treatment of cancer via chemo therapies can have on cognitive function. It is important to remain open to there being a complex interplay of issues at play. The powerful drugs used in chemo therapy may well have significant short and perhaps long term effects of cognitive/brain functioning. The stress associated with receiving a cancer diagnosis may also be a factor (as the lead article linked here indicates clearly). As well, there may be a wide array of psychosocial factors, before during and after treatment in addition to the impact of chemo treatment. Work related to chemo brain and related issues and phenomena represent a growing area of research in both neuroscience and health psychology.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of effects are associated with the term chemo brain?
  2. What challenges does the term chemo brain present to oncologists, health psychologists, and cancer patients?
  3. Are there other areas of research that should be considered in relation to the issue of chemo brain?

References (Read Further):

Hermelink, V. Voigt, J. Kaste, F. Neufeld, R. Wuerstlein, M. Buhner, K. Munzel, D. Rjosk-Dendorfer, S. Grandl, M. Braun, F. E. von Koch, K. Hartl, S. Hasmuller, I. Bauerfeind, G. Debus, P. Herschbach, N. Harbeck. (2015) Elucidating Pretreatment Cognitive Impairment in Breast Cancer Patients: The Impact of Cancer-related Post-traumatic Stress. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 107 (7): djv099 DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djv099

Raffa, R. B., P. V. Duong, J. Finney, D. A. Garber, L. M. Lam, S. S. Mathew, N. N. Patel, K. C. Plaskett, M. Shah, and H‐F. Jen Weng. (2006) “Is ‘chemo‐fog’/‘chemo‐brain’caused by cancer chemotherapy?.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 31, no. 2 (2006): 129-138.