Yesterday’s article, More Proof Cancer Therapies Can Effect Your Memory, is important.  We have written here a number of times about the effects of “chemo brain.”  Here are links to a few of these past articles:

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2009/02/chemo-brain-is-real.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2009/02/possible-medications-for-chemo-brain.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2009/02/basic-home-remedies-for-chemo-brain.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2009/03/more-about-chemo-brain.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2009/04/chemo-brain-cognitive-problems-with.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2009/05/seminar-about-chemo-brain.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2010/05/spices-that-may-be-good-for-your-brain.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2010/08/i-am-true-believer-that-cancer.html

http://www.helpwithcancer.org/2010/08/chemo-brain-part-two-what-can-cancer.html

That should keep you busy for a while!  Two things make yesterday’s article/study so important.  First, that a cancer patient’s memory loss isn’t just their imagination or all “in their head.”  It’s real!  Secondly, not only is chemo brain real, but other therapies can also cause cognitive impairment among cancer patients and survivors. 

“Chemo brain is sort of a misnomer, because we observed this memory-loss phenomenon among people who have undergone chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormonal therapy for treatment of various types of cancer,” Jean-Pierre told MedPage Today during a poster session here at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities…

“The findings show that memory impairment in cancer patients is a national problem that we must pay special attention to,” Jean-Pierre said.

I found the following statements by Dr. Carrasquillo particularly enlightening:

“The best analogy for this is bypass surgery where we found it was true that these procedures were related to memory loss in some individuals,” said Olveen Carrasquillo, MD, chief of general medicine at the University of Miami, who was not involved with the research.

We are giving people a lot of very toxic drugs,” Carrasquillo told MedPage Today, “so it is not surprising that some people could develop some neurological problems.” He said the object in cancer therapy is to save lives, but in doing so some people my suffer deficits. “We have to determine how to weight that,” he said.

So true!  As doctors and researchers continue to make gains in median life expectancies among cancer patients and survivors, more focus and study needs to be devoted to quality of life issues.

Knowing what causes our frustrating memory loss is comforting.  Now its time to pressure researchers to help do something about it!

Don’t forget to feel good and keep smiling!  Pat & Pattie

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