After-Effects of Chemotherapy May Include Memory Problems


chemoChemotherapy can save the lives of people with cancer, but new research suggests it may have devastating effects on the brain. Many cancer patients who receive chemotherapy report “chemobrain” – a range of symptoms including a loss of memory and the ability to concentrate, and other problems such as difficulty thinking.

The stories of women who survived breast cancer but suffered from weakened brain power are told in a study published online Sept. 16 in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Saskia Subramanian, from the Center for Culture and Health at the University of California — Los Angeles, and colleagues interviewed 74 women who had completed cancer treatment at least a year earlier. The women described a variety of emotions, including fear, frustration and emotional exhaustion.

In some cases, women stated that they feared losing their independence because they wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves like before. They sometimes devoted less time to work and to social activities, and felt that the medical community didn’t pay enough attention to their symptoms of chemobrain, according to a news release about the study.

At the workplace, the side effects of chemotherapy robbed their ability to focus, potentially making it less likely that they’d be promoted, the study authors pointed out.

“These data underscore the very serious ways in which chemobrain can affect the life experiences of cancer survivors – emotionally, psychologically and economically,” the researchers concluded. “A clear understanding of the cognitive impairments experienced by survivors will aid researchers in developing targeted therapies and interventions aimed at improving or mitigating these post-treatment side effects.”

{HealthDay News/The American Cancer Society/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Very insensitive to post this, for anyone that unfortunately underwent chemotherapy will now have the additiona concern of memory loss (as is the case with any symptom especilluy pertaining to memory, a person can talk themselves into it )

  2. my mother was on chemo for 7 years due to stage 4 Metastasized breast cancer. She had “Chemo Brain” she forgot things mid conversation, or simply could not remember what she wanted to say. Or it would take her a long time to spit out what she wanted to say. It is a very real side effect. But at least we had 7 additional years that she was still able to be our mother, love us and take care of our father. Had she not had the Chemo we would not have had that time because the cancer would have eaten her alive!

  3. there are other safer options other than chemo. see the site “Cancer fighting Strategies” and bill hendersons website among others. Maybe try for a month or two b-4 going for chemo.

  4. If someone is chas vshalom diagnosed they will seek professional help….and follow medical experts advice. number 3- when ppl have cancer they dont just ‘try’ things for 2 months…..
    we should all be spared

  5. To expand on 4: if one wants to pursue something that is purely complementary and not contraindicated by the standard protocol, fine, but please, you may have a lot of valuable eitzos for people but this is very individualized.

  6. Maybe young people with mild cancer can get away with it and eventually not have cancer any more. But generally, it weakens the immune system, and many will not survive their cancer anyways, including women dying without the beauty of their hair (lost to chemotherapy). Many people have been cured of cancer through natural means without the need of surgery or chemotherapy. Will be happy to send additional info on this to those with open minds if you write to