Nervous system damage is often related to the dose of the drug. Some neurologists called it a “brilliant” and “exciting” advance in understanding the underlying neural mechanisms by which chemotherapy may cause so-called chemo fog or chemo brain. Additionally, chemotherapy can cause long-term lung damage, leading to thickening of the lungs’ lining, inflammation and difficulty breathing. New research explains the brain chemistry behind chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction and finds a potential new therapy for preventing it. Heart problems can also happen with newer targeted therapy drugs and with radiation therapy. It's difficult to predict what side effects you'll get. Chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects, although many can be treated or prevented, and most will pass once your treatment stops. Chemotherapy may affect these peripheral nerves in the hands and feet first. Your friend's email. Cardiac Concerns . Share. She has never fully recovered. If this happens, you may feel a burning or shooting pain or numbness (neuropathy), usually in your fingers or toes. Chemotherapy 'could cause brain damage' in breast cancer patients. Many chemotherapy drugs also cause DNA damage, which can be repaired by enzymes in the cell that carry out DNA repair. "Chemo brain is actually not a great term for this," says Dr. Asher. Certain treatments may damage and affect the functioning of the heart, kidneys, bladder, or liver. Cancer and chemotherapy also cause other issues, like anaemia or infections, that can potentially affect thought processes. She is easy to fatigue and has a foggy mind. Answer From Joerg Herrmann, M.D. In addition, some treatments for blood cancer can damage sex organs and impact a person’s fertility, or the ability to have children. While side effects can be unpleasant, they must be weighed against the need to kill the cancer cells. Others report no effect on brain function. A tumor or cancer cells in the brain can injure healthy cells and can cause cognitive changes. New attention is being paid to one common side-effect, hearing loss. She goes to her doctor for yearly (?) Another study on chemotherapy and brain damage had a different conclusion. Submit a question; About iHeard; I've heard that chemotherapy can cause changes to the brain, such as 'chemo brain' and mental illness. Sometimes, a doctor may be able to predict what symptoms a person may have based on the area of the brain … There doesn't seem to be any one treatment or drug that impacts the likelihood of getting chemo brain. Your name. Some chemo drugs cause long-term side effects, like heart or nerve damage or fertility problems. Here's a list of many of the common side effects, but it's unlikely you'll have all of these. Tiredness . Still, many people have no long-term problems from chemo. Chemotherapy can be more toxic to brain cells than to cancer cells and may cause brain damage BioMed Central. Chemotherapy adversely affects cognitive function both acutely and chronically, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms. It's unclear what causes chemo brain, says Dr. Asher. Reported side-effects from chemotherapy vary between each person, however patients who have undergone chemotherapy treatment often tell their treating specialists they are having problems with their memory and complain of a “foggy head”. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the central nervous system can also cause nervous system problems. I would like to subscribe to Science X Newsletter. If you are over the age of 65 years, or have an altered immune system due to chemotherapy, chronic disease or steroid use, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you receive a flu vaccine every year, and a pneumonia vaccine every 5 years. 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