senior man holding head

What is chemo brain? Atlanta Home Care Partners explains.

Confusion. Trouble with concentrating. Short-term memory problems. Could these be signs of Alzheimer’s?

Possibly; but if you are a cancer survivor, there is another common culprit that might be at play: chemo brain from chemotherapy. Known as chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment (CICI) or “chemo brain,” effects such as these can continue for months or even years post-treatment.

Chemo brain can arise in anyone undergoing chemotherapy, but also procedures such as radiation, surgery, or hormonal treatments, even without chemo. Additionally, the cancer itself can cause cognitive issues as well, compounding the challenge with effectively relieving the condition.

Dr. Kevin Liou of the Bendhaim Integrative Medicine Center of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center shares, “Cancer-related cognitive impairment is now understood to be a complex, multi-factorial problem with various contributory factors.”

As a result, chemo brain can result any time during or following cancer treatment, presenting with symptoms such as problems with:

  • Multitasking
  • Reading comprehension
  • Finding the right word (for example, remembering the name of an individual or common object)
  • Finishing sentences
  • Processing information
  • Attention span

A broad feeling of fuzziness has also been reported. Taking these steps can help optimize cognitive functioning if chemo brain is impacting you or a loved one:

  • Prioritize getting 6 – 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Exercise every day for a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes. This can be as simple as using the stairs as opposed to the elevator, choosing a parking space farther away from your destination, or taking a daily walk around the neighborhood.
  • Manage stress by incorporating time every single day for calming activities.
  • Minimize potential distractions.
  • Get plenty of fresh air, protecting against contact with any airborne toxins.
  • Make a feasible list of to-dos, and prioritize them.
  • Use memory-assisting tools such as notifications and alerts on your phone.
  • Create and adhere to a routine to help with your particular concerns; for instance, if you are struggling with misplacing items, make a habit of always placing your keys, wallet, etc. in the identical position every single day.

Atlanta Home Care Partner’s caregivers are well versed in providing care for individuals diagnosed with cancer, before, during, and after treatment. We establish a personalized plan of care that addresses any difficulties being faced and outlining strategies to help overcome them, through home care services such as:

  • Picking up prescriptions, grocery shopping, and running other errands as needed
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals that are appetizing to those receiving chemotherapy
  • Laundry and light housekeeping
  • Providing pleasant companionship to engage in conversations and fun activities to brighten every day
  • Help with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing and using the bathroom
  • And more
  • If you need home care services in Decatur or the surrounding areas, reach out to us today online or at 404-228-0103 to learn more about how we can help.