Why does it happen?
Researchers and doctors have had a difficult time pinning down a source, and consequently an official term, for chemo brain. Most settle on a name incorporating some variation of cognitive impairment or change as a result of cancer therapy or post-chemotherapy stress. In addition, limited previous studies have left researchers with many questions regarding when exactly chemo brain takes place, and whether or not certain individuals are more at risk than others.
A recent study led by Michelle C. Janelsins, PhD approached the issue of chemo brain by surveying 581 female breast cancer patients and comparing their results with 364 healthy women who were matched for age and race. The average age of participants across both groups was 53. Janelsins serves as assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, in the Wilmont Cancer Institute.