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How Long Does Chemo Brain Last

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How Is Chemo Brain Managed Or Treated

How Long Does Chemo Brain Last?

Doctors do not have a standard treatment for chemo brain. Cognitive rehabilitation programs can be helpful. Some medications have been tested for treating chemo brain but results are varied. These agents include gingko biloba, modafinil, methaphenidate, antidepressants, and donepezil combined with vitamin E.

Many cases of chemo brain are temporary. They go away on their own. However, other cases last for longer periods of time.

What To Expect After Last Chemo Treatment

Physical Changes and Strategies to Cope

First and foremost, you may be noticing some physical changes in your life after chemo. Chemotherapy works by destroying cancer cells that grow and divide quickly unfortunately, this sometimes results in fast-growing, healthy cells also being affected.

Its important to note that not everyone will experience the same sort of side-effects when it comes to life after chemo. Every situation is unique, and each survivors situation is different.

Fortunately, no matter what you may be dealing with in your post-treatment life, most of your bodily issues are able to be kept under control. Luckily, there are numerous precautions and strategies you can employ to minimize the adverse effects of life after chemo.


Depending on where your cancer was located, you may be dealing with pain. This pain can either be localized to the area where cancer was being treated, or it may be an issue that has impacted your entire body. Whatever the case may be, there are ways to cope with some of the painful side-effects that come along with what happens after chemo is finished, which will impact how long until you feel better.

Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Numbness
  • Inability to keep your balance
  • Sensitivity to cold or heat

Skin Changes

Some of the skin changes survivors frequently mention include:

Dry Skin Your skin may be feeling itchy, accompanied by roughness and tightness. This is one of the more common skin conditions survivors may deal with.

Strategies To Cope With Pain And Skin Changes

Luckily, there is plenty you as a survivor can do to improve your conditions in your life after chemo. The important thing to remember is that YOU are in control.

When it comes to skin changes and associated pain, we at CamWell have made it our mission to provide safe, oncologist-formulated solutions to help patients and survivors alike cope with their symptoms.

CamWell Hand to Heal Cream is the perfect solution for skin conditions such as Hand Foot syndrome you may be coping with users have even said that its helped calm their symptoms of peripheral neuropathy! Every bottle of Hand to Heal Cream is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and contains no harsh chemicals. Each ingredient is carefully sourced and selected, and only a thin layer is required for maximum results.

Benefits of CamWell Hand to Heal Cream include:

  • Soothes chemo-induced neuropathy
  • Hydrates severely dry, cracked skin
  • Calms inflammation
  • Protects skin against infection
  • Heals skin damage linked to numbness and tingling

In addition to utilizing a CamWell product, here are some other helpful strategies and precautions you can take when it comes to managing your pain:


Fatigue is something youve battled throughout your cancer treatment, and its lingering effects can be felt after youve completed chemo as well. Fatigue is a common complaint as such, there is much that can be done to help cope with it and mitigate its effects.

If youre struggling with fatigue, you may be dealing with symptoms such as:

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Suffering From Chemo Brain Theres Hope And Many Things You Can Do

Some of the most common symptoms experienced by cancer patients are memory problems, difficulties with multitasking, and reduced attention and concentration. Historically, cancer patients with these symptoms were often diagnosed with depression. Research over the past decade has revealed that many cancer patients experience such symptoms as a consequence of specific damage to the brain caused by either their tumor or their treatment.

While radiation to the brain has long been linked to causing cognitive difficulties, the effects of chemotherapy on brain structure and function have only recently been discovered. We now know that the majority of patients treated for cancer, including breast, lung, colon, and many other cancer types, experience difficulties with memory, multitasking, cognitive processing speed, attention, and concentration as a consequence of their treatment. The good news is that such symptoms may slowly improve over time in most patients.

What Is Chemo Brain + How Long Does It Last

How Long Does âChemo Brainâ? Last?

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Chemotherapy comes with many side effects that are often visible and hard to deny, such as hair loss and nausea. However, one side effect that is often unfairly brushed aside is chemo brain, or cognitive changes during chemotherapy and other treatments for cancer.

Chemo brain is realand incredibly common in people undergoing chemotherapy. Most people who experience chemo brain describe it as causing things like memory lapses, slower processing, difficulty multitasking and concentrating, and forgetting common words.

Chemo brain can also lead to emotional symptoms. The mental cloudiness can be very frustrating, and it can add stress to an already stressful period of someones life.

What Causes Chemo Brain?

Theres no single answer for this question, and in fact, some people experience chemo brain fog without even undergoing chemotherapy. Thus, doctors believe chemo brain is actually the result of a complex mix of factors, such as:

  • The cancer itself, such as a tumor in the brain

  • Anti-nausea meds and other related drugs to relieve side effects

  • Anesthetics used during surgeries

  • Lack of sleep and general fatigue

  • Hormone changes

  • Nutritional deficiencies, which are common due to lack of appetite and nausea

  • The age of the patient

  • Depression, which is common among people undergoing cancer treatment

  • And stress.

How Long Chemo Brain Lasts

Coping with Chemo Brain

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Types And Symptoms Of Cognitive Changes

Discuss all of these possible causes of cognitive problems with your health care team. This will help you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Mild cognitive changes

Sometimes survivors experience changes in their ability to remember or concentrate after they have chemotherapy. This typically mild form of cognitive change is sometimes called “chemo-brain.” Even these typically mild cognitive changes can disrupt daily living and the ability work. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and multi-tasking.
  • Inability to think clearly.

Neurocognitive effect of tumors

A tumor or cancer cells in the brain can injure healthy cells and can cause cognitive changes. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are treatments that are used to remove or destroy cancer cells. However, they can also damage some of the surrounding healthy cells either by direct administration or by impacting the brain indirectly. Depending on how much damage occurs, there could be noticeable symptoms such as with thinking, memory, speech, visual-spatial problems and behavior changes.

Acute onset cognitive changes

Acute onset cognitive changes are those that occur suddenly. Some acute changes, such as delirium, come and go with no real pattern. This can happen during treatment with certain medications and chemotherapy agents, and may be reversible. Symptoms include:

  • Fluctuating alertness and orientation.

Other cognitive changes in cancer survivors

  • Anxiety.
  • Severe nutrition problems.

What Are Cognitive Changes

Cognitive changes mean changes in memory, concentration and the way a person is able to think.

These problems were first reported after chemotherapy treatment. For example, researchers first looked at this in women with breast cancer and found that chemotherapy might be the cause. So these changes used to be called chemo brain. Another name people use is chemo fog.

But the term chemo brain is misleading. Doctors now think that these problems could be due to a variety of reasons, including the different cancer treatments and the cancer itself. Doctors might refer to these problems as:

  • cancer related cognitive impairment
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • cognitive dysfunction

Cognition basically means thinking. In psychology, it means the way you process and recall information. And the way you understand the world and how it works.

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Factors Affecting Chemotherapy Duration

Cancer Research UK notes that the length of a persons chemotherapy treatment and the structure and length of their cycles depends on the following factors:

  • the type of cancer and its stage
  • the chemotherapy medications the doctor prescribes
  • the cancers response to the medications
  • the nature and severity of side effects from the medications

Since chemotherapy drugs can harm healthy cells, a person needs to excrete as much chemotherapy medication as possible before receiving another treatment cycle.

Different chemotherapy drugs remain in the body for different amounts of time. Some examples are as follows:

could increase the amount of time that chemotherapy drugs remain in the persons system:

  • interactions between the chemotherapy drugs and any other drugs the person is taking
  • liver or kidney dysfunction caused by tumors or cancers
  • liver or kidney dysfunction caused by cancer therapies

How Cognitive Changes Might Affect You

Living with Chemo Brain

The symptoms of cognitive impairment can come and go. How much you notice them seems to depend on what you’re doing. For example, if you need to juggle a number of things as part of your normal day, you might notice it more than someone who doesnt. People often notice it more when they go back to work. Tiredness usually makes the symptoms worse.

For most people, the symptoms have either gone or improved a lot within a year of ending treatment. But for some people the symptoms can be long term and may continue for years after treatment has finished.

Research suggests that people who have mild cognitive impairment are also more likely to have depression, anxiety, and fatigue. We dont know whether mild cognitive impairment leads to these problems. Or whether having depression, anxiety or fatigue makes you more likely to develop cognitive impairment.

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How Vitamins Affect Chemotherapy Drugs

Many people want to take an active role in improving their overall health. They want to help their bodys natural defenses fight the cancer and speed up their recovery from chemo. Most people think of vitamins as a safe way to improve health, so its not surprising that many people with cancer take high doses of one or more vitamins. But some vitamins might make chemo less effective.

More research is needed, but until more is known about the effects of vitamins on chemo, keep these points in mind:

  • If your doctor has not told you to take vitamins, its best not to take any.
  • Always check with your doctor first before starting to take a vitamin of any kind, even a simple multivitamin.
  • Ask your doctors if and when it might be OK to start taking vitamins after treatment.
  • If youre concerned about nutrition, you can usually get plenty of vitamins by eating a well-balanced diet. See Nutrition for People With Cancer to learn more about nutrition during and after cancer treatment.

Who Gets Cognitive Changes

It is not clear how many people develop problems with their concentration or memory during or after cancer treatment. Different research studies suggest quite different figures. But as many as 78 in 100 of people with cancer may be affected. It can affect both men and women.

The causes are unclear. Research suggests that it may be caused by a combination of factors. Some cancers, such as brain tumours, have a higher risk of causing problems with memory and thinking.

Other risk factors include:

  • cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, radiotherapy and surgery
  • treatment to the brain, such as chemotherapy into the fluid around the spinal cord or radiotherapy to the brain
  • high-dose treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • side effects of cancer treatment, such as infection, low number of red blood cells , extreme tiredness , sleep problems, poor nutrition and menopause
  • emotional reactions to cancer and treatment, such as anxiety and depression
  • non-cancer drugs such as painkillers or anti-sickness medicines.

It is worth remembering that the benefits of your cancer treatment will usually far outweigh the risk of developing CRCC. Your doctor or nurse will be happy to talk about your treatment with you if you are worried.

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Theres An App For That

The built-in functionality of your phone and the variety of downloadable add-ons available can aid your memory. You can use the camera on your phone to help you remember things like where you parked, or which items youve already bought. Use the voice recorder or send yourself an email to jot down thoughts.

Install a medication reminder app so you dont forget to take your pills. Download a calendar app to keep track of appointments and other important events.

How Is Chemo Brain Treated At The Mayo Clinic

Chemo Brain, Brain Fog! How long does it last?

Chemo brain 1 Diagnosis. There are no tests to diagnose chemo brain. 2 Treatment. Chemo brain treatment focuses on coping with symptoms. 3 Lifestyle and home remedies. You can take steps to ease chemo brain symptoms on your own. 4 Alternative medicine. 5 Coping and support. 6 Preparing for your appointment.

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Treatment Of Chemo Brain

Treatments for chemo brain may include:

  • Cognitive rehabilitation: This might be part of a cancer rehabilitation program. It includes activities to improve brain function such as learning how the brain works and ways to take in new information and performing new tasks doing some activities over and over that become harder with time and using tools to help stay organized such as planners or diaries.
  • Exercise: Exercise can improve your thinking and ability to focus. Activities such as gardening, caring for pets, or walking, can help improve your attention and concentration levels.
  • Meditation: Meditation can help improve brain function by increasing your focus and awareness.

Talk to your cancer care team about these treatment suggestions and other options they may recommend to help you cope with any cognitive problems.

What Are Some Common Symptoms

Chemo brain is one side effect that many cancer patients report and its a real, diagnosable condition. Chemotherapy can cause it, obviously. But so can the cancer itself or even secondary medical conditions. Patients usually describe chemo brain as a foggy or slow feeling that makes it harder to process information.

Common chemo brain symptoms include:

  • Trouble concentrating, particularly on just one task
  • Increased short-term memory loss
  • Spoonerisms
  • Trouble finding the right word or phrase
  • Feeling mentally slow/sluggish compared to your usual self

A 2016 study researched where chemo brain comes from, and how doctors might treat cancer patients that have it. The study examined brain activity in breast cancer patients over a one-year period. At the studys beginning, researchers asked breast cancer chemo patients and control subjects to perform a Verbal Working Memory Task. Both groups then completed the same task again at five months and then one year post-treatment. The chemotherapy group performed significantly worse on the task 12 months after finishing treatment. They also had persistent neural inefficiency in executive network fMRI-activation. More plainly, women in the chemo group had more trouble concentrating, making decisions and planning things than control subjects did.

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How Long Do Side Effects Last

Many side effects go away fairly quickly, but some might take months or even years to go away completely. These are called late effects.

Sometimes the side effects can last a lifetime, such as when chemo causes long-term damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or reproductive organs. Certain types of chemo sometimes cause delayed effects, such as a second cancer that may show up many years later.

People often become discouraged about how long their treatment lasts or the side effects they have. If you feel this way, talk to your cancer care team. You may be able to change your medicine or treatment schedule. They also may be able to suggest ways to reduce any pain and discomfort you have.

How Long After Chemo Does Your Body Get Back To Normal

Chemotherapy: Long-term effects

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to a timeframe. Everyone is different and the amount of time you spend recovering depends on multiple factors.

Even though theres not set amount of time to fixate on, theres a lot you can do to help yourself move forward:

Self-Nourishment Much like food feeds your body, experiences feed your soul. Its important to give yourself exactly what you need at any given time. Want to take that nap you used to feel guilty about? Go for it! Read new books, listen to new music, pay attention to your needs, and most of all enjoy yourself.

Socialize You might be feeling a bit low after treatment has been completed, which is common. Surround yourself with a solid support system this can come in the form of family, friends, or an actual support group. Joining a group with other survivors will help forge a connection with others who have had similar experiences.

Set Goals Your survival gives you a second chance at life a chance to focus on what truly matters most to you. This could be as small as writing in a journal every day or walking every morning, or as large as starting your own business out of your home. Whatever the case may be, setting goals for yourself will feel you with an overwhelming sense of positivity and accomplishment.

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What Is Chemo Brain

Chemotherapy can help you fight cancer, but side effects are almost certain. Itâs common for you to have a cloudy mind, called “chemo brain,” during and after treatment. Maybe you have a hard time remembering names or canât multitask as well as you used to.

As many as 3 out of 4 people with cancer say they’re not as mentally sharp. Itâs often caused by your chemotherapy medicines, but it can also come from the cancer itself or other problems like infection, low blood counts, fatigue, sleep problems, or stress.

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