You may have heard, or even used, the phrase ‘chemo brain’. Chemo brain is a term commonly used to describe thinking and memory problems experienced during or after cancer treatment. But changes in cognition aren’t specifically related to chemotherapy, and can happen before treatment commences, which is why the correct medical term is cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI).
CRCI involves a decline in cognitive functions, such as perception, attention, language, thinking, learning and memory, action planning, understanding, reasoning and problem solving. CRCI is very common, with approximately 30% of cancer patients experiencing cognitive change prior to treatment, and up to 75% reporting changes during treatment.