How Do You Deal With Cognitive Dysfunction as a Result of Cancer Treatment?

September 21, 2020

On social media, CURE® recently asked its readers to share how they deal with the cognitive dysfunction that can come about from cancer treatment.

Each week on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, CURE® asks its readers to share their thoughts with the #CureConnect discussion question. This past week, we asked: “Have you experienced cognitive dysfunction as a result of cancer treatment? How do you deal with it?”

Here’s what our readers shared:

  • “I can’t sit and read for long anymore, so I often use audiobooks.” – S.T.
  • “It's been 13 years since my treatment and I still have short-term memory issues as well as focus issues. My brain seems to jump around when I'm trying to read or focus on a task. It's gotten better, but I use lists and work around my limitations.” – G.A.
  • “I have difficulty reading and comprehending anything lengthy, like a book. I generally can't remember what I've read when I pick up the book again. It's very frustrating because I've always been a reader and was a literature major in college. It's impossible to separate what is due to treatment and what is due to aging.” – R.G.
  • “I am three years out and I struggle with my speech and remembering things. It is really bad. I am doing crossword puzzles now, which helps some.” – M.D.
  • “Brain fog since 2003. I can forget what I was doing if I get distracted. I also say complete sentences backwards if I get excited.” – R.P-P.
  • “I am four years out from last chemo — I lose names and sometimes can’t find the right word. I also will ‘know something’ but don’t know how I know it: whether I read it, saw it on the news, someone told me, etc. This could be from chemo, could be from aging, or a combo of both.” – K.M.
  • “Neurocognitive deficits led to my early retirement from medicine 15 years after a second round of head and neck radiation. I was afraid I’d forget something important and it was hard to keep up with the pace and literature. Now I listen to audiobooks more often than reading and I make lists of things I need to do or buy. I always set a timer when I cook after several minor mishaps. I try to do one thing at a time as I may forget something important. I don’t load the day with activities because it will take a while to recover from the resultant fatigue. Retirement made everything a little better.” – S.T.
  • “I write everything down and that helps. I have a lot of trouble with word finding which can be frustrating. When I'm tired or stressed it's worse. I'm an oncology nurse, so unfortunately tired and stressed is kind of my normal. So, I deal with it the best I can. It's been seven years and it seems like it's getting worse as I age, not improving as I get further out from treatment.” – M.S.

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