Changes in memory, thinking, and concentration are common during cancer treatment (sometimes called "chemo brain"). Many patients describe being forgetful or having a hard time focusing on a task or finding the right word in a conversation. These changes are usually temporary and will get better after treatment. These changes may vary due to stress, pain, medications, and fatigue. Establishing routines is a good strategy to help manage these changes.
Call the clinic or hospital if any of these symptoms occur:
- Difficulty reading more than a paragraph at a time
What patients can do:
- Ask people to repeat things if necessary.
- Be understanding with yourself and know that these temporary changes are to be expected.
- Keep a list of questions for the doctor and write the answers down.
- Keep things in the same place to easily find them. For example, always keep your keys and wallet in the same place.
- Record important conversations or have someone with you to help take notes.
- Set an alarm for regular reminders to take medications.
- Talk with your health care provider about acupuncture as a way to manage cognitive-related symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. Watch our video or call or visit HCI's Wellness-Survivorship Center for more information about this treatment.
- Write down important information and keep it in an obvious place such as the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.