“Risk of inflammation and cognitive impairment due to chemotherapy, often called “chemo brain”, may be reduced by maintaining physical activity during treatment…”
It is important for multiple myeloma (MM) patients to understand that the collateral damage (multiple myeloma side effects) caused by chemo and radiation is real. And even more important for the MM patient to understand that there are therapies to heal your brain if you develop chemobrain. Maybe not 100% healing (after all we MM survivors may be old and getting older…) but you can heal cognitive disfunction.
Ed. Note- on 3/11/2020 I added the third article linked below about possibly diagnosing your genetic risk of developing chemobrain post stem cell transplant.
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2/94. I underwent six courses of induction therapy (VAD), two courses of high dose cytoxan and an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT), all in 1995.
I developed a MM side effect called chemobrain. I have been researching therapies to try to heal my cognitive dysfunction ever since.
The study excerpted and linked below questions whether the stress caused by a cancer diagnosis may contribute to chemobrain. I’m sure it does. And I believe that many cancer survivors live with PTSD caused by the trauma of a cancer diagnosis.
But the stress caused by a multiple myeloma diagnosis pales in comparison to the stress caused by aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. While chemotherapy and/or radiation may be required for the MM patient to fight his/her cancer, it is important to understand that the more toxicity you and your body undergo the greater the risk of collateral damage aka multiple myeloma side effects.
Identifying my symptoms of chemobrain led to my learning about evidence-based therapies to heal my chemobrain such as frequent, moderate exercise cited in the studies linked and excerpted below. It turns out that frequent, moderate exercise is a well-documented therapy to reduce dementia and maybe even the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. How about that?
For more information about how to heal chemobrain while you reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, scroll down the page, post a question or comment below and I will reply ASAP.
- Multiple Myeloma Survivor
- Multiple Myeloma Cancer Coach
- Director PeopleBeatingCancer
“Risk of inflammation and cognitive impairment due to chemotherapy, often called “chemobrain”, may be reduced by maintaining physical activity during treatment, according to a University of Rochester (UR) Medical Center study…
The results showed that those in the EXCAP group reported less brain fogginess and memory problems overall, and had lower levels of blood inflammation. They also had improved mobility compared with the non-exercise group…”
“A large number of studies have shown that cancer patients very often exhibit mild deficits of attention, memory and other basic cognitive functions. The phenomenon has generally been attributed to putative side-effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on the brain, and the condition is therefore popularly referred to as chemobrain. —
However, more recent investigations have detected symptoms of chemobrain in patients who had not yet embarked on a course of chemotherapy…
Stress has a very considerable influence on cognitive performance and definitely impacts on brain function — so it was quite natural for us to ask whether the cognitive deficiencies displayed by many breast cancer patients might not be attributable to the stress that is inevitably associated with malignant disease…”
“…researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have identified genetic factors associated with cognitive impairment related to blood and bone marrow transplants. That information can better pinpoint patients at the highest risk for cognitive issues compared to using demographic or clinical characteristics alone…
“Patients use the phrase ‘chemo brain,’” said Sharafeldin, who is also an associate scientist with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. “It’s not dementia, but mild to moderate cognitive impairment. They feel foggy, become forgetful. They say they’re not keeping up with appointments and medications. It hinders their ability to function in the workplace.”
Understanding accelerated aging
The combination of cancer and high-intensity treatments like BMT, which involve chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can lead to accelerated aging in many patients.
“One of the hallmarks of accelerated aging is premature occurrence of health conditions that are typically seen in older people…”
Multiple Myeloma Side Effects- Chemobrain? Get Aromatherapy, Essential Oils
“Clinical trials have examined (essential oils) use in patients with cancer (multiple myeloma side effects) for anxiety, nausea, vomiting and other health-related conditions…”
According to research, not only is chemobrain real, it is a real side effect of chemotherapy in up to 75% of multiple myeloma (MM) patients. Establishing the validity of a multiple myeloma side effect is the first step. Establishing therapies to heal the MM side effect is the next step. Though the article linked and excerpted below is anecdotal evidence, it cites aromatherapy and essential oils as a therapy to heal chemobrain.
If you’re a MM survivor or caregiver, you may be wondering (skeptical) how serious a MM side effect chemobrain actually is.
I mean, when compared to chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy or treatment-related secondary cancers, chemobrain just doesn’t stack-up.
Because I live with all of the MM side effects mentioned above, I can agree that chemobrain just isn’t as difficult to live with as the others. But here’s the thing. Chemobrain is a form of brain damage. Brain trauma. I’ve never found a study to this effect but my suspicion is that my chemobrain will speed me toward dementia aka alzheimer’s disease.
So I’m going to pursue any/all therapies that could heal my chemobrain. And hopefully, I’ll strengthen my brain along the way and stave off dementia for as long as I can.
“People treated for cancer often notice a change in mental acuity during or after treatment. This condition is commonly called brain fog or chemo brain. It can be very frustrating.
Chemo brain may profoundly affect some people’s lives while it spares others. And, in some cases, it will last years rather than months. Although it can feel like a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s not.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I noticed a lack of mental clarity. It wasn’t a profound change, but more of a subtle forgetfulness. I’d find myself standing in the middle of my kitchen wondering why I was there, or I’d be driving in my car and forget where I was going. It was a scary feeling not being in control of all my faculties. After talking with my husband about it, he laughed and said, “You’re just getting old.” That answer did not make me feel any better. While I did realize age could be a contributing factor, I knew in my heart it wasn’t the reason behind what I was experiencing.
Talking with the doctor, I was told to get more rest, reduce my stress level and stop multi-tasking. I took the advice to heart and it helped, but not entirely.
While on the phone with my oldest daughter one day, I explained the problems I was having. She asked if I’d ever tried using essential oils to boost my mental acuity. I’d never heard of using essential oils for chemo brain but she assured me they would help.
A week later, I received a package in the mail. My daughter had sent several essential oils, a bottle of fractionated coconut oil, and a roller bottle. On a small slip of paper, she’d given instructions on mixing the oils and on usage. Though skeptical to try them, I figured it couldn’t hurt and it would be wonderful if they helped.
The oils she included in the box were rosemary, peppermint and clary sage. Those oils, she explained, were considered best for improving mental clarity. Directions she provided explained that I could apply them directly on my skin or diffuse them…
Aromatherapy, which is the therapeutic use of essential oils, has been around for thousands of years dating to many ancient civilizations. Clinical trials have examined (essential oils) use in patients with cancer (multiple myeloma) for anxiety, nausea, vomiting and other health-related conditions, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. But none were published in peer-reviewed science journals.
Although there are no studies on essential oils for alleviating chemo brain in patients, I’ve found them helpful for improving my mental clarity and focus.”
[…] Multiple Myeloma Side Effects- Heal Chemobrain, Prevent Dementia […]Reply