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What is chemo brain?

Sometimes cancer survivors experience slight changes in their ability to remember or concentrate well after they have received chemotherapy. This very mild form of dementia is sometimes called "chemo-brain." Even these mild cognitive changes can disrupt daily living and the ability work.

Symptoms of chemo brain may include:
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering things that occurred recently
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Confusion
  • Inability to think clearly

Patients undergoing chemotherapy coined the phrase chemo brain long before doctors began studying the problem, says palliative medicine specialist Dr. Stewart Fleishman. Learn what it is and why it happens by watching this video.


Nimesh P. Nagarsheth, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
Chemo brain is a term that has been used to describe the cognitive side effects that have been associated with chemotherapy, which include unclear thinking, lack of concentration, decreased attention span, and short-term memory loss. Although cancer patients have been complaining of these symptoms for over 30 years, physicians have only begun to systematically research this issue in the past few years.
Music And Cancer: A Prescription For Healing

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Music And Cancer: A Prescription For Healing

From diagnosis to end-of-life care to the meaning behind life with cancer, Music and Cancer: A Prescription for Healing is designed to improve the quality of life of people affected by cancer in a...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.