Chemo brain is an occasionally used usually term by the cancer patients and survivors. It stands for the cognitive disruptions that can arise during the period of/after Chemotherapy. Recent studies have shown that Chemo brain does not only occur due to chemotherapy but also, A clinical trial by Wagner et al. (2020) suggests that women may develop chemo brain as a side-effect of hormone therapy. However, the significant and the most prominent cause of chemo brain is not yet known, but chemotherapy has a major impact.
Chemo brain may include symptoms such as forgetfulness, difficulty in daily tasks (such as searching for a word that is on the tip of the tongue, remembering dates, phone numbers and at times, even names!), trouble concentrating and many more. For the patients who are undergoing/have undergone chemotherapy, Chemo brain is more likely to affect them. The period of suffering from Cancer and chemo brain can be a very difficult one. Nevertheless, finding ways to cope with Chemo brain can come in handy while avoiding stressful times.
Here are some techniques to manage Chemo brain.
Journalize: This basic habit of writing down important tasks can come handy during the period of chemo brain, as forgetfulness is one of its major symptoms. Keeping a book/notepad of important tasks, dates and numbers can aid in the process of remembering. A planner or personal organizer could also do the job.
Sleep: Considering sleep is one of the most important chores of the human body as it not only relives tiredness but also enables the process of ‘healing’. A good night’s sleep can benefit the process of healing.
Keep the mind active and Avoid distractions: Solving puzzles, crosswords, board games, even reading or a matter, anything that interests the individual helps keeping the mind active. While performing these tasks, it is necessary to avoid distractions. Sitting in a quiet/peaceful place minimizes externalities and helps to concentrate better.
Repeat aloud: After taking notes, its necessary to say it out-loud in order to remember it better without the need of a checklist. This stimulates the mind and makes it active. This also trains them to be focused.
Tell loved ones: Speaking to family, friends or as a matter of fact even a support group can help get things off your chest. Once told, loved ones would understand, and help and encourage the healing process.
These are some tips that help in the process of coping with Chemo brain. A strategy that also helps in healing is- positive attitude and a willing mindset. Having the courage to face certain difficult situations and approaching them with a positive mindset can come a long way in the healing journey.