Chemo Brain


It is estimated that one in five people who take chemotherapy for cancer experience what’s called “chemo-brain.” This is a hazy experience where symptoms such as forgetfulness, difficulty finding the right words and difficulty multi-tasking or concentrating have been described as a side effect.

Some people regain mental clarity over time, others remain a bit less sharp. If you experience chemo-brain, it’s useful to practice compensation techniques to help you remember things and stay on task.

Memory tips and compensation techniques for chemo-brain:

  • Write lists & keep your notebook handy
  • Schedule appointments and medications into your calendar (ideally in a phone with a calendar alarm)
  • Keep consistent habits (such as placing your keys in the same spot each day)
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Contact a social worker for guidance

Resources for Chemo-Brain

For more information on combating chemo-brain, visit websites like

Content medically-reviewed by members of the Fight Colorectal Cancer Medical Advisory Board, February 2014

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