Have you or a loved had chemotherapy treatment and then discovered that you can’t think the way you used to?

If you are a chemotherapy patient and are concerned that your  mental processing and mood may be affected, use my quick self-assessment. I developed it from available research, cognitive models, and my personal and professional experience.   You can help increase the community’s knowledge about chemo brain by emailing or faxing (703-563-6055) the results of your assessment. (Note: for privacy reasons, use your email address only.)

Why would chemotherapy affect my mind? Isn’t that just stress?

Chemotherapies destroy rapidly growing cells, including the new cells that your brain is making on a daily basis.   Some chemotherapies, particularly those used for breast cancer and lymphoma, attack the DNA in the cells.  This can destroy the pathways in the brain that you've developed  over the years, as well as decrease the likelihood that your brain will re-make those pathways without additional support.

My brain just doesn’t work the way it used to, no matter what I’ve done.  Is it time to give up?

The good news is that you can grow new cells in your brain and make new pathways.  For now, it's best to understand the processes that are impaired and the severity of the impairment.

Hint: visit www.HealthAfterChemo.com to join a community of professionals and survivors.


        Take this quick self-assessment from 
Chemo Brain and Recovery: A Guide to Survival (read more)http://www.vabion.com/Chemo_Brain2.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0


Never = 3    Sometimes= 2    Often = 1

For each question, subtract the Blue value from the Red value and write it next to the numbers below.















Any value that is 0 or a negative number means that the skill or function was not affected by chemotherapy.  Any positive number would indicate an impairment for that skill or function.

Now, add the total for items 1-14.

•Mild to no impairment:     < 7

•Moderate impairment:   8 < 13

•Severe impairment:      14 < 19

•Very severe impairment     > 20

Please remember that these measures, while subjective, are valid.  Your experience of impairment or difficulty is a side effect and can be addressed.

Additional information

Chemo Brain and Recovery: A Guide for Survival is available as an eBook. For more information, including excerpts, click here.

Susan Hardwicke, Ph.D. 


Visit www.HealthAfterChemo.com to join a community of professionals and survivors.

Copyright VABION LLC, 2009. All rights reserved.


Susan Hardwicke, Ph.D.  




Ph.D. Cancer Survivor reveals method she used to recover from chemo brain.