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Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects

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  • Posted: 11/24/2008

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Memory Changes

"My nurse said that during treatment it may be hard to concentrate. I put important dates on the calendar. I also taped notes on the door to help me remember things."

Order this publication: Memory Changes

Get information about: More chemotherapy side effects

To order free copies of this fact sheet, please call 1-800-422-6237 (1-800-4-CANCER).

What is causing these changes?

Your doctor will work to find out what is causing these problems. They may be caused by stress or a medicine you are taking. Or, they may be caused by the cancer, cancer treatment, or other health problems.

You or a family member should call your doctor or nurse if you:

  • Feel confused
  • Feel very sad or depressed
  • Have a hard time thinking or remembering things

Use the check list below to get helpful tips:

Plan your day.

  • Do things that need the most thinking at the time of day when you feel best.
  • Get extra rest.

Get help to remember things.

  • Write down or tape record things you want to remember.
  • Write down important dates and information on a calendar.
  • Use a pill box or calendar to help keep track of your medicines.

Ask for help.

  • Ask a friend or family member for extra help when you need it.
  • Ask your nurse or social worker for help to keep track of medicines and clinic visits.
  • If you are very confused, have someone stay with you. Don't stay home alone.
Questions to ask your doctor or nurse:
  1. What problems should I call you about?
  2. What could be causing these problems?
  3. Is there medicine that can help me?
  4. What other tips can you give me that might help?
  5. How long will these problems last?
Free Services to Learn More
National Cancer Institute
Cancer Information Service
Phone:1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)

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