December 12, 2011- A recent study on women treated with radiation, chemotherapy and without chemotherapy for breast cancer showed that they had more memory problems in the years following treatment than those who never suffered from the disease.
Research has suggested that some patients suffered from what is called “chemo brain” a mental haziness that can take place during and shortly after treatment by chemotherapy.
Another recent study says evidence indicates the certain changes take place in certain regions of the brain in women who have undergone chemotherapy. Nevertheless, some scientists have questioned if the problems were due to the chemo treatments or the cancer.
The new report says, small mental deficiencies appeared in survivors of breast cancer regardless if they had received chemotherapy or not. The changes are subtle. “Women are not becoming demented, delirious or amnesic,” said neuropsychologist Barbara Collins.
The new study involved 129 survivors of breast cancer who were between 50 and 59 years of age. Close to fifty percent received chemotherapy and radiation, while the other half, just radiation.
Tests for range of thinking and memory were given both six months and three years following the completion of treatments. Those scores were compared to 184 women who never suffered from cancer, were close to the same age and lived in the general area.
On three of five memory tests women who had either treatment scored similarly to women with no cancer. However, on two of the tests, woman that had one of the two or both treatments, scored much lower. The reasons for the cause are still unknown.