Effects of Chemo on Communication

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Chemo Brain

Chemotherapy treatments can cause what is commonly referred to as “chemo brain” during or after treatment.

Chemo brain typically includes problems with the following:

  • Executive functioning (e.g., reasoning, decision-making, resource allocation)
  • Processing speed
  • Inhibition
  • Goal-oriented behaviors

Source: http://sig2perspectives.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1767716

Also may come with:

  • Short-term memory lapse — forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling
  • Trouble concentrating — can’t focus on what they’re doing, have a short attention span, may “space out
  • Trouble with word-finding, such as remembering names, not completing sentences, or not being able to think of a word
  • Trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one task
  • Taking longer to finish things– slower thinking and processing

Source: American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2012/04/09/chemo-brain-it-is-real.aspx

Hearing Loss

Chemotherapy can also have ototoxic effects on hearing

Source: http://www.asha.org/events/convention/handouts/2012/1268-radiation-induced-hearing-loss-in-the-pediatric-oncology-population/

Tongue Function and Swallowing

Chemotherapy may also affect tongue function and swallowing in patients

Source: http://sig13perspectives.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1773251