Many women who have chemotherapy for breast cancer complain of fogginess of the brain - they have difficulties in remembering what they just did or basic spellings or facts, and they have trouble concentrating and thinking. Doctors have suggested that cognitive decline during breast cancer treatment is related to your age. Older women who undergo chemotherapy have shown more significant declines in their ability to process information, to concentrate, focus and understand words, language and remember images. They also seemed more easily confused and distracted.
Even women who did not receive chemotherapy for breast cancer can experience cognitive thinking and memory problems. This might be a side effect of medicine plus low blood count, stress, anxiety, depression and hormonal changes. It might be a lack of sleep or a restless night of sleep due to anxiety or a change in life routines and fatique. A diagnosis of breast cancer can have a huge emotional and stressful effect on you. Your expectations and view of life changes - you might be filled with uncertainty, fear and a sense of helplessness.
All is not lost though. Studies show that many women recovered their brain functions and cognitive abilities after the chemotherapy was completed. It usually took a year or two to fully recover all the normal cognitive functions.
If you are having memory problems and just plain brain fuzziness, try to keep exercising your brain. Play video games or word puzzles such as crosswords and keep reading too. Just do anything that makes you think. Board games and card games work well as you can have some social interaction too which will help with your mental wellbeing and brain stimulation.
If you find yourself being forgetful, take a notepad around with you and jot down all the little things you need to do and essential information. Take a friend with you to your next doctor's appointment so you don't miss any key details. Having another set of ears around will help ensure as much information is taken down as possible. Speak to your cancer doctor if you have any fears or concerns in this area - it's more common than you might think and help is at hand.