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Another issue to deal with...memory loss

Always Hopeful
Posts: 234
Joined: May 2010

I was "visiting" a local market's website and came across this study info. Something to be aware of!


Courtesy of Jandi's Natural Market


Surviving Cancer May Lead to More Memory Loss

Fred Tasker

Posted October 14, 2010

Cancer survivors have a 40 percent greater chance of suffering memory loss than people who have not had cancer, according to a new national study presented by a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine assistant professor. It's severe enough to interfere with daily functioning, the study said.

The findings were presented in early October at a Miami conference on the science of cancer health disparities.

Pascal Jean-Pierre, the UM assistant professor, said the findings show that "memory impairment in cancer patients is a national problem that we must pay special attention to."

Researchers have dubbed the condition "cancer related cognitive dysfunction," suggesting that it goes beyond the "chemobrain" label associated with chemotherapy alone.

Researchers speculate it may be caused by some combination of chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation, or by the biology of the tumor itself.

"It's not really clear how this happens. It needs more study," Jean-Pierre said.

The study, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared 1,305 people who had had cancer to 8,514 who had not. It included people 40 and older from diverse educational and racial-ethnic backgrounds. The problem persisted across age groups in those 40 and over.

Some patients are helped by working on good nutrition along with computer-based attention and memory therapy, Jean-Pierre said.

"After cancer treatment ends, some people recover some of their lost function. But they seldom get back to baseline," he said.

Jean-Pierre said he and colleagues are continuing to study the problem and looking for drug therapies and behavioral interventions for it. He said it's important now to get a better understanding of the problem. Patients should tell their doctors about their symptoms, and doctors should ask patients.


To see more of The Miami Herald or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.herald.com.

Copyright © 2010, The Miami Herald

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Peace amd hope, JJ

Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2010

My 69 year old mother had radical hysterectomy in August and has had two chemo treatments so far. She has had some cognitive issues since surgery (postoperative cognitive dysfunction). It has not been significant and I think it has improved some, but it has been very frustrating for her. Some of the simpliest things she use to do very easily has been a bit of a struggle for her. On top of that, dealing with the fatigue that chemo brings and possibly more cognitive issues is challenging.

Have you experienced any problems with memory loss or confusion since your treatments?

Always Hopeful
Posts: 234
Joined: May 2010

How horrible it must be for your mom to struggle over basic things. I was not aware that "postoperative cognitive dysfunction" is an actual disorder. I "googled" it and it seems that there are meds for this. Has your mom been prescribed any of them?

My memory loss does not seem to be any different from my friends' who are around my age (61) and have not had chemo. If I try to blame anything on "chemo brain", my daughter quickly replies with, "And what was your problem before?" I guess, then, I'm no different now than I was before surgery and chemo.

Sending prayers and positive thoughts that your mom's cognitive ability improves...

Peace and hope, JJ

Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

I know I had "chemo brain" while I was getting treatment. But I find my memory is not as good as it was before I had treatments. Is it from the treatment, or because I am 62 years old now????? My husband is very understanding when I can't remember some things. I have come to accept that I can't remember some things. Causes less frustration on my part.

Songflower's picture
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

I get tip of tongue and the word is so close but it takes a few minutes for it to get hot wired to my mouth. When I had the breast cancer I did step aerobics to pattern my body. Also, work helped my memory to come back faster. My girlfriend gets computer games designed to help memory with little programs.


jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

That's truly scare for me too. I will say after my treatments my memory just isn't there like it was, but I depend so much on post-its to jolt the memory.

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers last year and we've since placed her in memory care unit and I'm always up on helping my memory. Diane has the right idea to keep our minds challenged with computer games and puzzles, etc. Also many foods tend to help. When I confront my doc, he has the "deer in headlights" response. So...off I go to do my own research and learn how to help the mind.

I wish us all the best but know the cancer might be at bay, but the minds are not quite what they used to be. Things do change....


maggie_wilson's picture
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

hi sisters,

i'll be 69 in january, and i've certainly noticed a change in my memory for really the past 10 years, i'd say. it started when i started mixing up telephone numbers, so now i am especially conscientious when i hear one. this seems to have levelled out. i may have had some memory loss during chemo, but frankly i don't know since my memory just isn't as sharp as it once was. it's not bad, however, just not as good. i'm sure age and chemo, and maybe the cancer, but somehow, i think it's more age and chemo myself. i just take extra precautions when i have to remember something, otherwise i'll find my self in a room and not recall why i entered it. hate that!!

i feel like i've plateaued for the moment; so holding my own. but, it is different than it was, but as many of you have said, our memories were going some way before we were diagnosed. i so hope we all can also look forward to some good changes as well.......


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