One Cancer Survivor’s Struggle With Chemo-Brain

Tom Marsilje, PhD, is a 20-year oncology drug discovery scientist with stage IV colon cancer. In the Philadelphia Inquirer he posted his first-hand experience with what is known as “chemo-brain.” That’s the tendency of patients going through chemotherapy to suffer from occasional bouts of amnesia. He often has to pick up clues about what he’d done on days when he is afflicted with the malady.

“It affects different patients in different ways and to different degrees. Even for me, its presentation is complicated. I often have total amnesia of chemo days from the start of infusion onward but looking at my sent email folder and social media posts, I remain perfectly lucid.”

Here’s what the American Cancer Society says about it: Chemo Brain.

Marsilje ends with some advice for those helping loved ones through the chemo ordeal. “So the next time a cancer survivor you know seems forgetful of a past conversation or forgets to show at an appointed time—cut them some slack. On top of the obvious strains of dealing with cancer, you have no idea what may be going on inside their head.”

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer