You Are Not Alone When Facing 'Chemo Brain'


In the summer 2020 edition of HEAL we speak with experts on the very real challenges patients face when confronted with "chemo brain".

Although still not perfectly understood, cancer- related cognitive impairment — commonly referred to by patients undergoing cancer treatment as “chemo brain” — is a very real, sometimes long-lasting mental fog that affects as many as 75% of patients during cancer treatment (and can last months or even years after treatment).

For years, many doubted its existence, chalking up the symptoms to old age or another malady. But now, as more survivors are living longer, researchers are better able to study it.

In this issue’s cover story, “Chemo Brain Is Real,” we hear from researchers who are investigating cancer-related cognitive impairment, as well as cancer survivors who are living with it. The article also offers strategies that optimize thinking and memory — and can help lift that fog.

Through treatment, which included chemotherapy, radiation and two stem cell transplants. For him, however, the biggest challenge was being a young-adult cancer survivor: “I survived this thing, and now all of a sudden, I’ve got to live the rest of my life. Who’s going to want to date me? Can I have kids?” Because many of his friends

Also in this issue, readers hear from Ethan Zohn, former professional soccer player and winner of the TV reality show, “Survivor: Africa.” At age 35, he received a diagnosis of CD20-positive Hodgkin lymphoma. Zohn talks about how his winner’s mentality helped him.

We hope you not only find the information helpful, but also draw inspiration from the stories of other courageous survivors. As always, thank couldn’t relate, Zohn found companionship — and comfort — through organizations for young adults impacted by cancer.

In addition, a cancer survivor struggling with physical exhaustion ponders whether she’d rather be strong of body ... or strong of soul.

Also inside: how yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy can help cancer survivors with insomnia and advice on rebuilding self-esteem after a cancer diagnosis.

As always, thank you for reading.