Excerpts from the Living Well with Cancer podcast interview with Rebecca Gondak, speech language pathologist at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Rebecca discusses therapy to treat cognitive impairment, chemo brain, that results from cancer treatment and AAMC’s Cancer Rehab Program. Listen to the entire interview here.
What kind of symptoms would you notice in someone with chemo brain?
People who come in with chemo brain often report problems with attention and multitasking, their processing speed, their word retrieval, their planning and organizational skills and their memory.
How do you treat chemo brain or chemo fog?
We start by educating the patients on what impairments they’re having difficulty with, then we teach them to apply compensatory strategies to manage those difficulties. That can include pacing of cognitive activities, preventing or minimizing distractions, using short-term memory strategies and word-finding strategies. Secondly, we teach them exercises to improve weaknesses, and we gradually increase the complexity of those exercises to encourage functional reorganization of the brain.