Can radiotherapy around your head affect your memory?

I had 60gy of radiotherapy, 30 sessions over 6 weeks, 5 days a week. It was bilateral radiotherapy. They shielded my thyroid. The radiotherapy was down to my shoulders, and up as far as my cheeks, AND all around the back of my head, about halfway up my ears.

I don't know, but I feel like somehow my memory isn't quite as good as it was. Especially short-term memory.

I understand (I'm a psych nurse) that all the worry and upset of having cancer, and its brutal treatment, can cause people to be forgetful. But this is worrying me a little bit.

I just feel 'absent minded' in a way that I never have before.

I have also NEVER suffered from anxiety in my life. If anything, I go down, not 'up' - I've had depression three times in my life, but I am NOT depressed now. I don't feel too bad emotionally.

Just this odd memory thing.... could it be the radiotherapy? Some sort of brain damage? I wonder if it's permanent? Hope not!

Comments

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
    Estelle

    I haven't personally experienced memory loss...atleast not yet and I am 2 1/2 yrs out. I am sure others will weigh in on the topic. Hope your problem resolves itself.

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    head case

     

    Estelle,

    I feel slightly like I just got off of a carnival ride.  I feel like I just finished rads yesterday.  My head  feels heavy and I don’t like to nod my head up and down or back and forth. 

    BUT, my memory is good!

    I feel great, sleep great and eat great, I just feel a little bit funky and I have some issues with speaking loudly and clearly.

    fun with Matt

    at 2y5m

     

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,771 Member
    in the clubhouse...

    could it be the radiotherapy? Some sort of brain damage? I wonder if it's permanent?

    What you describe is quite common for oral cancer survivors. As you state this is pretty stressful stuff and even if you feel OK, your subconscious can certainly be working with your body to signal that you are beat up, worn out, stresed out, and not all recovered as yet. Perfedctly normal if folks speak to the doctor and find some short term relief meds. If it does not pass in a bit, then inquire again. I suspect you will be bouncing back to the ward, as the nurse. :-)

  • lornal
    lornal Member Posts: 428
    Huh?

    My memory was affected by the first cancer some in 2007.  I had radiation and chemo then.  This time (2014), I had a 12 hour surgery + 2 more days of sedation.  That definitely affected me.  I must have my 8 or so hours of sleep to have a decent day.  My husband wouldn't let me drive on our 3000 mi trip - my reaction time is slower, and I'm slower making decisions.

    Make sure you are getting enough sleep.  And food - I get really bad when its past time to eat.  I can't say hungry, because I only recently started getting hungry again.

    Lorna

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
    Estelle, i don't know if it

    Estelle, i don't know if it was the rads but i don't remember anything from right after my tx (35) 10/22/09 until about 8 months after my lary surgery/neck dissection (Sept. 2012).  I mean nothing.  the surgeries, doctor appointments, complications, nothing.  I can only attribute it to the rads as I was fine before them.  I asked my docs but nobody can answer my question.  when i mention it to friends/family they say i'm lucky i don't remember b/c  i went through so much but i really don't like not knowing what went on in my life for such a long length of time.  i don't recall ever taking pain meds so can't blame them but since i don't remember anything, i may have who knows....lol

    dj

  • Laralyn
    Laralyn Member Posts: 532
    Did you have chemo? There's a

    Did you have chemo? There's a thing called "chemo brain." It can affect memory, etc. along with all the stress, disrupted nutrition and other things in dealing with cancer that can cause these kinds of issues. Here is some info on it: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/chemotherapyeffects/chemo-brain .

    Hope the info helps--hang in there!

  • Thanks guys, maybe I'm just

    Thanks guys, maybe I'm just overdoing it :)

  • Hard12Find
    Hard12Find Member Posts: 217 Member
    Memory

    Estelle,

    I had a host of memory problems after radiation, medication, chemo, and the stress of it all. My ability to remember and concentrate, were bad enough that I voluntarily surendered my pilots, and aircraft mechanics licenses, something I had been doing for nearly 40 years. It has gotten better but I am no where near as cognizant as I used to be....

    Jim

     

     

  • Jeff2159
    Jeff2159 Member Posts: 108
    Laralyn said:

    Did you have chemo? There's a

    Did you have chemo? There's a thing called "chemo brain." It can affect memory, etc. along with all the stress, disrupted nutrition and other things in dealing with cancer that can cause these kinds of issues. Here is some info on it: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/chemotherapyeffects/chemo-brain .

    Hope the info helps--hang in there!

    Chemo Brain

    well I can use it as an excuse now. I always prided myself in having a good memory but lately I have questioned myself and have forgotten many a name or situation. Eventually it comes to me but I have wondered too if it was the rads

     

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Memory

     

    I can remember things that happen many many years ago but can’t remember what I did yesterday unless I write it down so I can remember what I did.

    Well Oh I am getting old

    Tim Hondo

  • hrowe
    hrowe Member Posts: 57
    Maybe Chemo Brain?

    Had 70guys and 7 rounds of Cisplatin ended 06/12/12 for a tumor at the epiglottis into the lymphs.

    I experienced some memory loss during/after treatment. Nothing major. Two years later I'm back to my "normal" absent minded self Smile

  • TracyLynn72
    TracyLynn72 Member Posts: 839
    Estelle_H said:

    Thanks guys, maybe I'm just

    Thanks guys, maybe I'm just overdoing it :)

    I have wondered the same thing!

    I had rads, no chemo, and find myself searching for a word that I can't quite remember almost once a day.  I feel like my brain got a little "cooked" or something!

  • Forgetful...

    It might not be listed as a side effect but I definitely have noticed that I'm fogetting a lot lately, especially short-term stuff.  I thought I was experiencing "delayed chemo brain".

    Eating healthy has helped but I know that's not an option when in treatment.  Hope your neurons start firing again.  

  • Guzzle
    Guzzle Member Posts: 710

    Forgetful...

    It might not be listed as a side effect but I definitely have noticed that I'm fogetting a lot lately, especially short-term stuff.  I thought I was experiencing "delayed chemo brain".

    Eating healthy has helped but I know that's not an option when in treatment.  Hope your neurons start firing again.  

    Dr.Who?

    Estelle, your memory of Dr.Who is still intact! You would be the lady to have in a pub quiz. Ill let you explain, Your Fellow Gallifrean, G

  • Guzzle said:

    Dr.Who?

    Estelle, your memory of Dr.Who is still intact! You would be the lady to have in a pub quiz. Ill let you explain, Your Fellow Gallifrean, G

    :) Yay for Doctor Who!!!

    :) Yay for Doctor Who!!!

  • tommyodavey
    tommyodavey Member Posts: 726 Member
    Estelle_H said:

    :) Yay for Doctor Who!!!

    :) Yay for Doctor Who!!!

    Memory

    Works for me.  At least now I have something to blame it on.  Mostly short term and some long term too.  Told my Dr. and he ran some tests but I came up okay.  The test was too easy.  Things I forget is names of people.  Just yesterday I couldn't for the life of me think of Jim Carrey's name.  Come on, that's an easy one!

     

    Radiation to the head cannot be good for the brain IMO.

     

    Tom

  • Guzzle
    Guzzle Member Posts: 710

    Memory

    Works for me.  At least now I have something to blame it on.  Mostly short term and some long term too.  Told my Dr. and he ran some tests but I came up okay.  The test was too easy.  Things I forget is names of people.  Just yesterday I couldn't for the life of me think of Jim Carrey's name.  Come on, that's an easy one!

     

    Radiation to the head cannot be good for the brain IMO.

     

    Tom

    Carrey

    To be fair to you Tom hes usually wearing a mask....

  • Guzzle said:

    Carrey

    To be fair to you Tom hes usually wearing a mask....

    I just feel like I'm not as

    I just feel like I'm not as well organised as I used to be. I was always absolutely organised, but now I'm sort of absent minded and forgetting small things.

    For example, the other day, I turned up at work for an Early shift, but I was supposed to be on a Late. I had checked my diary the night before, but somehow forgot.

    Today I thought I was on a day off, so I turned up 20 miles away at a cancer check up. In the car park waiting to go in, my mobile rang "Where are you Estelle? You're rota'd on a late shift!?" The hospital appointment is tomorrow, not today. I thought it was Thursday.

    I feel sleepy a lot too, although I've always like my sleep ;)

    :( not a good day, and another example of how I'm now a different person. I want to be ME again!

  • MarineE5
    MarineE5 Member Posts: 1,029 Member
    Estelle_H said:

    I just feel like I'm not as

    I just feel like I'm not as well organised as I used to be. I was always absolutely organised, but now I'm sort of absent minded and forgetting small things.

    For example, the other day, I turned up at work for an Early shift, but I was supposed to be on a Late. I had checked my diary the night before, but somehow forgot.

    Today I thought I was on a day off, so I turned up 20 miles away at a cancer check up. In the car park waiting to go in, my mobile rang "Where are you Estelle? You're rota'd on a late shift!?" The hospital appointment is tomorrow, not today. I thought it was Thursday.

    I feel sleepy a lot too, although I've always like my sleep ;)

    :( not a good day, and another example of how I'm now a different person. I want to be ME again!

    Tyroid levels?

    Estelle,

    Have you had your (TSH) Tyroid levels checked lately? Fatigue is an issue caused by the Tyroid being out of whack.

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

  • Viilik70
    Viilik70 Member Posts: 73
    Frontal lobe

    My field of radiation included my frontal lobe and my RO said that it would affect my short term memory and I would have some feeling like something isn't right. I'm five years out from my second go round with rads and chemo. So you are not crazy I have problems coming up with the right words to say from time to time and I'm 44 years old so I've been using them for a couple years! Lol any who I just roll with it because theres nothing I can do about it and sometimes it just makes me laugh because it just a brain fart brought on by too much radiation! Oh well I'm still alive and enjoying my family while I still can : ) God bless you all!