Coping with ‘chemo brain’

Uploaded by on Feb  2, 2009

Many women who undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer describe unsettling changes to the memory and concentration. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center say this phenomenon is very real, and have even given it a name: Chemo brain.

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2007 Sep-Oct;29(5):461-3.

A case of manic episode during treatment with 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide for breast cancer.


Unit of Psychiatry, Department of Neurosciences, Sant’Andrea Hospital, 2nd Medical School, Sapienza University, 00189 Rome, Italy.


A 41-year-old woman with breast cancer developed a manic episode while being treated with a 5-fluorouracil-epirubicin-cyclophosphamide combination (most likely caused by the first drug). Chemotherapy was discontinued, and antipsychotic treatment with haloperidol and olanzapine was instituted. She recovered after 10 days. Normal computerized tomography (CT) scans and neurological examinations were consistent with the absence of neurological symptoms on physical exam.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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