Chemo Brain is Real – How Chemotherapy for Cancer Affects the Brain

For years, people who have been treated with chemotherapy for their cancer have been complaining about cognitive deficits during and after the therapy. For the most part, their complaints fell on deaf ears. This has been especially true for people who have tried to return to work, or to just resume a normal life after being treated for cancer.

In our practice of helping people with health and disability insurance claims, we see the effects of Chemo Brain quite often.

Now, researchers at the West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown, W.V. have identified tangible evidence of Chemo-Brain. By using PET/CT scan technology, they were able to assess changes to the brain’s metabolism after chemotherapy. Previous studies using MRI technology were unsuccessful in finding actual changes in the structure of the brain. This most recent study looked at brain function rather than the brain’s appearance. This study showed statistically significant decreases in brain metabolism.

It can now be said with a higher degree of confidence that Chemo Brain is real. Dr. Rachel Lagos, one of the researchers involved said “Chemo brain phenomenon is more than a feeling. It is not depression. It is a change in brain function observable on PET/CT brain imaging.”

You can read more about the study at the Radiological Society of North America’s website:

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