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  • Writer's pictureThe Care Company

Learn Better Ways to Manage Chemo Brain Symptoms

senior man holding head
How can you help a cancer survivor manage chemo brain symptoms?

Short-term memory problems. Confusion. Lack of ability to concentrate. Could it be Alzheimer’s?

Possibly; but if you’re a cancer survivor, there’s another likely culprit that might be at play: chemotherapy. Referred to as "chemo brain" or by its technical term, chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment (CICI), the efforts to manage chemo brain symptoms can continue for months or even years after treatment.

Chemo brain symptoms can happen in any person receiving chemotherapy as well as radiation, surgery, or hormonal treatments, even without chemo. Additionally, the cancer itself may cause cognitive problems as well, adding to 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.”

Because of this, chemo brain can occur any time during or following cancer treatment, presenting with symptoms such as problems with:

  • Multitasking

  • Reading comprehension

  • Finding the right word (i.e., remembering the name of a person or familiar object)

  • Completing sentences

  • Processing information

  • Attention span

An over-all sense of fuzziness has also been documented. Taking these steps will help improve cognitive functioning if you need help to manage chemo brain symptoms:

  • Prioritize getting 6 – 8 hours of sleep each 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, selecting a parking space a greater distance from your destination, or taking a regular walk around the neighborhood.

  • Manage stress by integrating time every day for soothing activities.

  • Minimize distractions.

  • Get plenty of fresh air, protecting against exposure to any airborne toxins.

  • Make a feasible list of to-dos, and prioritize them.

  • Use memory-assisting tools such as notifications and alerts on your smartphone.

  • Create and stick to a routine to assist with your particular concerns; for instance, if you are struggling with misplacing items, make a habit of consistently placing your keys, wallet, etc. in the identical place each day.

The Care Company’s caregivers are experienced in caring for those diagnosed with cancer, before, during, and after treatment. We develop a personalized plan of care that details any difficulties being faced and outlines answers to help overcome them, through elderly care services such as:

  • Planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals that are palatable to individuals receiving chemotherapy

  • Picking up prescriptions, grocery shopping, and running other errands as needed

  • Providing friendly companionship to take part in conversations and fun activities to brighten every day

  • Doing light housekeeping and laundry

  • Helping with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom

  • And more

Give us a call 24/7 at (416) 422-2273 to learn more about how our Toronto elderly care and services in the surrounding areas can help.


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