Many cancer survivors complain that they deal with “chemo brain” which they describe as a mental fog and an inability to concentrate that continues long after their treatment ends. Now, a new study suggests that this condition may not be due to recent chemo alone. Researchers, analyzing data gathered from 2001-2006 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found that people with a history of cancer were 40% more likely to report memory impairment.
Certainly, these issues may be due to the treatment and to the influence of chemotherapy, but researchers think that they may also be attributed to the disease itself which may change brain chemistry, or to psychological distress.
These findings were recently presented at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Miami by Pascal Jean-Pierre of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Jean-Pierre emphasized that his study shows that “this is a serious national problem” and treatment options may begin to focus on behavioral interventions and medications like antidepressants.