In the nine years I have been a moderator at Cancer Chat, I have often seen multiple mentions on the forum of this curious 'chemo brain' phenomenon which many people with cancer who have had chemotherapy treatment seem to experience. It’s not clear how many people this affects and studies looking at this have reported a wide range of different figures. As mentioned on our website in our page about chemo brain, it can range from 17 out of 100 people (17%) to 50 in 100 people (50%). For those of you who are only too familiar with what is often known as the ‘chemo fog’, this can be difficult to manage on a daily basis and can be very disruptive on a personal level. I remember reading this story on the forum of a single mother who was having to juggle everything work, children and life whilst at the same time struggling greatly with ‘chemo brain’. It must have been really hard for her as I am sure it is tough for so many of you who are going through this at the moment.
On a lighter note, I thought I would also mention this highly entertaining thread which recounts several chemo brain sufferers’ experiences all whilst keeping a sense of humour about it all. Meet for example @Ruth1234 who was trying to make a cup of tea and put on her washing and ended up pouring fabric conditioner into her cup of tea and almost poured milk into the conditioner compartment of her washing machine (easily done though!) or @zuzanka who put orange juice in her coffee instead of milk – and no it didn’t taste nice! Although these anecdotes will inevitably make you smile, unfortunately when you are experiencing this cognitive impairment repeatedly, the impact this ‘chemo brain’ can have on your everyday life and the disruption it may cause at work or at home can be huge. Multi-tasking for example can become very difficult and it can be so frustrating to those who experience it.
Is this something you can relate to? We’d love to hear your own chemo brain stories and if you have any tips to share to help the fog lift even temporarily, I am sure our members would appreciate to hear your suggestions. We have some tips on our website to help you cope with chemo brain which you can read here. Let us know if these have been tried and tested by you or if there are others that worked for you which you would like to share with our community.
We'd love to hear your stories and personal anecdotes on this subject!
Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator