Symptoms of Chemo Brain


Chemo brain is a term for the memory problems that sometimes occur in cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy. However, the Mayo Clinic contends that there is no definitive proof that links chemotherapy with memory problems. Many cancer survivors use therapy and a change in lifestyle to try and cope with memory loss after chemotherapy.

Behavioral Symptoms

Chemo brain may lead to behavior that you did not engage in prior to chemotherapy. You may find yourself disorganized and unable to find things, and you may find it difficult to concentrate on simple daily tasks. You may find yourself in a haze that makes you feel constantly confused, and you may not be able to focus on any one task or event for a prolonged period of time. If you were able to do several things at once prior to chemotherapy, chemo brain may rob you of that ability and force you to do one thing at a time. You may find it difficult to express yourself by finding the right words at times, and you may also find it very difficult to learn how to do new things or remember names.


You may notice that you have slowed down. It may take you longer to complete tasks than it used to, and you may develop a constant feeling of fatigue and drowsiness. You may also have to deal with bouts of insomnia, or you may find yourself waking in the middle of the night for no reason.


Chemo brain may cause difficulty concentrating. You may suddenly have a very short attention span, and you may begin to lose your short term memory. You may lose your place in a conversation, and you may have difficulty remembering what you were doing at any given time.


As a result of chemo brain you may start to lose your ability to associate places, images and names. You may have a difficult time remembering names even when you see faces. You may start to lose the ability to remember lists of words and tasks, and you may also have a difficult time associating landmarks with directions. You may start to find it difficult to associate important dates with their events. For example, you may remember the date of your anniversary but you may forget why that date is important to you.

Task Completion

You may find yourself slowing down as a result of chemo brain, completing tasks more slowly than you used to. You may become more deliberate in your approach to tasks as your brain tries to process the information necessary to complete them.

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