May 13, 2022

Chemo Brain for the Multiple Myeloma Patient*

An interesting article, titled “Chemo Brain’ : an imprecise term for a complex phenomenon” was published on-line. The article gets right to the point from the start:

The various cognitive impairments collectively known as “chemo brain” can cause anxiety, frustration and difficulty with everyday tasks for cancer survivors. Despite what the term suggests, “chemo brain” and its associated mental changes are not necessarily related only to chemotherapy. Other cancer treatments also can have short- or long-term cognitive implications. Additionally, some changes in cognitive function may be associated with the cancer itself.’

Most of us multiple myeloma patients, will be familiar with ‘anxiety, frustration, difficulty with everyday tasks’ especially during the early months of our treatment and in the periods post-stem cell transplant. It takes awhile to get us back to the point where we can more than one thing at a time. The whole article is about 7 pages long but quite easy to read and I highly recommend you read it. I am just going to lift some snippets here that are more specific to us, myeloma/blood cancer patients.

One of the authors states: “One of the pieces of this puzzle [seeking to identify the mechanisms behind cancer-related cognitive decline, as well as ways to manage them] is that some people appear to be more affected than others. So, part of the challenge is in identifying the underlying mechanisms and subgroups of patients who are impacted.”