A term of recent vintage which dignifies the cognitive changes associated with chemotherapy, which occur in up to 30% of patients.
Clinical findings Poor concentration, decreased ability to multitask, reduced memory–both visual–e.g., grocery list and verbal–details of a conversation, shortened attention span, confusion–especially when learning new information, sense of disorganisation.
Cancers with highest risk Reproductive organ cancers–breast, ovarian, prostate, etc, and cancers treated aggressively
Pathogenesis Uncertain; prevailing theories
• Direct toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents
• Indirect effect of hormones on brain
Management Nothing is consistently effective; interventions used have includes antioxidants, cognitive behaviour therapy, erythropoietin, stimulant drugs–e.g., methylphenidate, modafinil–a wakefulness-promoting agent, hormone therapy, prayer
Synonyms Chemo fog, chemobrain, chemotherapy-related brain fog, chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction, post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment