Many cancer survivors have been found to suffer from memory and concentration problems as well as confusion. Brain scans of women who were treated for breast cancer 5 to 10 years before showed that the chemotherapy might have had produced long-term changes in the memory part of the brain.

The scanning showed that brains of these women took longer to retrieve the same kind and amount of information than brains of women who only had surgery and didn’t undergo chemotherapy.

These findings come from researchers in the USA. In UK, on the other hand, no memory or attention problems have been found in women who underwent the most common breast cancer treatments.

UCLA researchers took images with a technique called positron emission tomography (PET). These images showed that there was an increase in blood flow in a region called the frontal cortex while trying to perform memory-related tasks. They also measured to see how brain uses sugar to make energy and noticed lower levels in that activity as well in women who underwent chemotherapy.

The brains of these women had to work much harder to recall the information asked. The most common symptoms that occurred in a quarter of women who took anti-cancer medication were confusion, problems focusing, and could not do different things at the same time.
Health experts still believe that the benefits that cancer suffers get from chemotherapy outweigh possible small attention impairments.