Cancer Education

More than 150,000 people with cancer come to a Mayo Clinic site annually. Patients benefit from the knowledge and extensive experience of Mayo Clinic specialists and integrated approach to treating each individual.  Reliable, up-to-date education is central to a patient’s cancer care plan.

Mayo Clinic provides information and resources to support patients during diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment. Knowledge empowers people to be active partners in their health care.

Dec 12, 2019

Cancer-Related Brain Fog

By Lonnie Fynskov, @lonniefynskov

shutterstock_536001130Earlier this month I highlighted a presentation on cancer-related brain fog:
Since this presentation was not available at the other Mayo Clinic sites or electronically, I wanted to share the following key messages:

Cancer-Related Brain Fog

What is it?

  • Cancer-related cognitive impairment or difficulty with thought processes
  • Described as “slower thinking, easily fatigued or problems with memory”

What are some of the challenges of “brain fog?”

  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Takes longer to complete tasks
  • Multitasking is very challenging
  • “Word finding” may be a problem

What are some of the causes of “brain fog?”

  • The cancer illness itself
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Sleep problems
  • Pain/Mood challenges
  • Medications
  • Individual genetics and/or personal hormone fluctuations

What can you do about it?

First, recognize cognitive changes are very real! It is important to address the factors you can modify and have some control over. Having reasonable expectations is key!

  • Reclaim a sense of “control” through energy management, sleep habits, appropriate exercise.
  • Utilize memory aids such as a journal or notebook for lists, questions, and important information
  • Schedule “brain breaks.” Every hour, take a 10 minute break from what you are doing and relax.
  • Share your situation with people you trust
  • Listen to your body and get into the routine of doing something again.
  • Consider redefining your “new normal.”

What has been your experience with brain fog?  Are there any techniques that have been helpful?

Connect with others managing cancer-related brain fog and other symptoms in the online support group Cancer: Managing Symptoms.


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