Difficulty with memory and other aspects of mental function, such as concentration, attention, or multitasking, are collectively referred to as cognitive impairment. When these effects occur after chemotherapy treatment, you may hear the condition referred to as “chemo brain.”
Mental impairment can occur at any time during cancer: before diagnosis, during treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, and well after treatment. Currently, there are no evidence-based recommendations to prevent mental impairment, mostly because doctors and scientists do not yet understand how or why it develops.
Symptoms of mental impairment can include
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, report them to your oncology nurse or doctor. Depending on how long they last and how distressing they are to you, you may be referred to a neuropsychologist for assessment and treatment.