The severity and duration of the symptoms sometimes described as chemo brain differ from person to person. Some cancer survivors may return to work, but find tasks take extra concentration or time. Others will be unable to return to work.
If you experience severe memory or concentration problems that make it difficult to do your job, tell your doctor. You may be referred to an occupational therapist, who can help you adjust to your current job or identify your strengths so that you may find a new job.
In rare cases, people with memory and concentration problems are unable to work and must file for disability benefits. Ask your health care team for a referral to an oncology social worker or a similar professional who can help you understand your options.
Feb. 02, 2013
- Asher A. Cognitive dysfunction among cancer survivors. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2011;90(suppl):S16.
- Phillips KM, et al. Cognitive functioning after cancer treatment. Cancer. 2012;118:1925.
- Myers JS. Chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment: The breast cancer experience. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2012;39:E31.
- Fardell JE, et al. Chemotherapy and cognitive impairment: Treatment options. Nature Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2011;90:366.
- Improving your concentration: Three key steps. CancerCare. http://www.cancercare.org/publications/71-improving_your_concentration_three_key_steps. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Combating chemobrain: Keeping your memory sharp. CancerCare. http://www.cancercare.org/publications/70-combating_chemobrain_keeping_your_memory_sharp. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Cognitive problems. Cancer.Net. http://www.cancer.net/all-about-cancer/treating-cancer/managing-side-effects/cognitive-problems. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Ginkgo. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 3, 2013.
- Vitamin E. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 3, 2013.
- DeVita VT Jr, et al. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg's Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008:2751.
- Ganz PA. Cancer Survivorship: Today and Tomorrow. New York, N.Y.: Springer; 2007:59.
- Feuerstein M. Handbook of Cancer Survivorship. New York, N.Y.: Springer; 2007:287.
- Chang G, et al. Mental status changes after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cancer. 2009;115:4625.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 5, 2013.