Chemotherapy magnifies pre-existing problems
“Our work isolated that the cancer is responsible for some of the memory and thinking complaints experienced by cancer survivors, and that drug therapy adds to the problem,” said Dr. Winocur.
The cognitive decline began in the mice with breast cancer before the first chemo drug was injected. The learning and memory impairment was worsened by the drugs, and in the mice without tumors, the drugs initiated a decline in cognition.
By the end of the trial, the mice with both breast cancer and anti-cancer drugs had the worst ability to learn new or recall old information.