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Chemo Brain Therapies in Breast Cancer

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“Cognitive function affects a variety of adults with certain diseases or neurological problems. In particular, women who previously underwent chemotherapy for their breast cancer diagnosis have an increased reporting of fogginess or forgetfulness (chemo brain).

Whether memory problems/cognitive disfunction/chemo brain/chemo fog, etc.  stems from the stress of dealing with cancer or from the toxicity of conventional therapies, or even from the cancer itself,  the fact is that breast cancer patients and survivors experience problems with their cognitive function.

The important thing for chemo brain suffers is to understand that they can heal brain function. How? While my cancer was not breast cancer, I underwent a great deal of chemotherapy (autologous stem cell transplant) and let me assure you, chemo brain is real. While my brain function will never be like it was when I was in my 20’s, the therapies listed below have improved and continue to improve my memory, facial recognition, attention, and many other brain deficiencies.

 

  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Brain Games

I am am both a long-term cancer survivor and cancer coach. If you would like to learn specific therapies for your specific situation, scroll down the page and post a question or comment. I will reply to you ASAP.

Thanks and hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director-PeopleBeatingCancer

Articles of Interest-


Exercise improves memory in breast cancer survivors

“…In the study, more physical activity was associated with higher levels of self-confidence, lower distress and less fatigue, which in turn is associated with lower levels of perceived memory impairment.

“We found moderate to vigorous physical activity actually benefits women psychologically and that, in turn, helps their memory,” Phillips said.

Breast cancer survivors who had higher levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity — brisk walking, biking, jogging or an exercise class — had fewer subjective memory problems. Subjective memory is an individual’s perception of her memory….”

Brain Training in Breast Cancer Survivors Combats Chemobrain

“Cognitive function affects a variety of adults with certain diseases or neurological problems. In particular, women who previously underwent chemotherapy for their breast cancer diagnosis have an increased reporting of fogginess or forgetfulness. But now, there is a website that can help with just that.

In a recent pilot study, published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that a brain training program – Brain HQ – helps breast cancer survivors improve their cognitive function.

Changes in cognitive function are common among patients who survive breast cancer. However, limited efforts have been put in to understanding or managing these cognitive changes in patients.

“Cognitive changes are distressing occurrence during and after treatment. Many cancer survivors who wish to return to work have difficulty with these changes and are not generally aware that there are ways to help improve cognition,” Karen Meneses Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Professor, Associate Dean for Research and co-Director of the Nursing Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in an interview with CURE

Brain HQ training

However, as more research was done in this field, many started to realize the brain is, in fact, not fixed in its wiring, but rather, is constantly reorganizing and rewiring itself in response to what is asked of it.

“So, Brain HQ, what it does is it builds on the scientific understanding of brain plasticity, on how the brain changes, and implements those principles in a set of specific brain exercises, in which, quite literally doing them rewires the brain to make information processing faster and more accurate, and in doing so, improves cognitive function,” explained Mahncke…”

 

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23 comments
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Andrea says 5 years ago

Hi David,

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m a breast cancer patient Stage 3a starting taxol on Thursday 05/18/17 and would like to know any advice you can offer regarding preventing, reducing or healing from Chemo brain.

Thank you Andrea

Reply
    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Andrea-

    I am sorry to read of your BC diagnosis. Several things. Chemobrain is not studied and not understood by conventional oncology. As a result cancer survivors are left to figure this side effect out by themselves. The therapies for chemobrain below are based on my own research and experience. I am not a MD. Most importantly, there is overlap between reducing the toxicity of chemo (integrative therapy) and reducing the risk of chemobrain. My point is that it is the toxicity of chemo that causes chemobrain. So the less toxicity you expose your brain to the less chemobrain you will risk.

    I’m going to email a list of non-toxic anti BC therapies to your verizon email. The email will also cite curcumin and green tea extract as an integrative therapy shown to enhance the efficacy of paclitaxel.

    Chemobrain-

    1) moderate, daily exercise- walking, swimming, etc. Get your blood flowing…

    2) Brain games- I have BrainHQ sent to my inbox every morning. I exercise both my brain and my body a little each day. I will be honest and admit that my preparation is about the now and the future.

    3) Anti-oxidants in general- see the PDF

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    David Emerson

    Reply
Nisha Tanna says 5 years ago

HiDavid. ..my chemo brain following breast cancer diagnosis is debilitating.no one can understand. On.some days it’s so bad I cry when someone asks me a question. What can I do to help myself???thank you.

Reply
    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Nisha-

    I am sorry to read of your chemobrain. While my cancer is different from yours I too have struggled for years with this side effect. I am in the planning stages of writing a book on the issue of cognitive disfunction aka chemobrain aka chemofog. Can I ask you some questions about how, what, when, etc. as well as talk with you about those therapies that I have found help me heal my own chemobrain?

    Let me know. Thanks.

    David Emerson

    Reply
Kimberly Warren says 5 years ago

Good morning David Emerson:

My name is Kimberly and I am a breast and lymphnode cancer survivor, following the advice of Dr. Brysinski and Dr. Axe, and Dr. Gundry and Ty Bolinger for nutrition and protcols for curing cancer. Some people have thought I am right out of my mind. But so far it is working. I had only 1 treatment of Chemo and it almost killed me with more than 18 side affects. Scaring my husband half to death as he watched me struggle through it.
My question to you is are you a certified coach, I didn’t see any qualifications after your name. And can you tell me what your site offers people that are trying to stay cancer free.
Thank you David, look forward to hearing from you.

Kimberly

Reply
    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Kimberly-

    I am sorry to read of your cancer diagnoses but happy to read that you made it through your chemo treatment and are working to learn all you can.

    I am not certified in any formal way. No organization or group has certified me. My perspective for coaching cancer patients, survivors and caregivers is that of a person who has undergone chemotherapies, an autologous stem cell transplant, radiation, end stage diagnosis, antineoplaston therapy, and complete remission. All while living with short, long-term and late stage side effects. Twenty-two years living with an incurable cancer, multiple myeloma, has taught me things that I can share with clients.

    I believe that cancer patients don’t know what they don’t know. And that conventional oncology is limited in many ways. It is my job as cancer coach therefore to help them ask the questions to identify those issues that will help them make better decisions. Cancer patients and survivors may undergo either/or both conventional and non-conventional therapies. But the key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each therapy based on the individual situation.

    David Emerson

    Reply
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