Chemo brain

Chemo brain is a common term used to describe changes in thinking and memory for those who have been through cancer and treatment. Chemo brain may refer to forgetfulness, slower thinking, difficulty concentrating or confusion. It is also known as ‘chemo fog’, cancer-related cognitive impairment or cognitive dysfunction.

Chemo brain can be caused by chemotherapy treatment, the cancer itself, or secondary medical conditions such as infection or anaemia (low red blood cell count). The exact cause might be hard to identify and it is likely that there are multiple causes. The majority of people on active treatment for their cancer will experience symptoms of chemo brain.

No matter the cause, chemo brain can be a frustrating and debilitating side effect of cancer and its treatment. Researchers are working to understand more about the memory changes that people with cancer experience.

Check out our ‘Chemo brain’ factsheet for more information and tips on managing chemo brain.