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Subject:Chemo-Brain, attention deficit disorder.

I am a 6 year survivor of a stage IVb esophageal adenocarcinoma diagnosis.

Initial treatment was the full standard Taxol/Carbolatin protocol (6 infusions at 3 week intervals) 9-12/2000 and another two infusion of the same Taxol/Carboplatin chemo with 45Gy radiation for a local recurrence, 1-2/2004.

During the whole EC experience I have been able to continue to work with minimal lost time as a result of the cancer and its treatment.

My long and short term memory do not seem to have been effected --- but I am having increased difficulty in concentrating on extended complex tasks involving research from multiple sources. It would seem that I am no longer capable of a sustained effort of more than an hour at a time.

I also suffer from a lack of energy remenicient of the fatigue experienced during chemo treatment. 

This is very much reducing my ability to do an effective job within time and budgetary restrictions.

I am being treated for the lack of energy with iron tablets and testosterone gel and it seems to be helping to some degree.

It appears that at this time there is little my medical oncologist and PCP can do about the attention deficit aspect of chemo-brain, which after 6 years does not seem to be getting any better!!

Do you have any ideas as to how I may be able to better cope with this situation?




Posted: 03 Aug 2006 12:06 PM
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Subject:Chemo-Brain, attention deficit disorder.

Problems with focused and sustained attention and multi-tasking are typical problems. If medically not contraindicated, we often suggest treatment with a stimulant (e.g., Ritalin, Provigil) - it can help chemobrain attention deficit just as much as attention deficit disorder in children, and also helps with fatigue. Non-medical strategies, such as energy conservation, planning the workday so that projects requiring sustained effort are done at times when attention is generally best, and other strategies, also can help.

Christina Meyers, Ph.D.

Posted: 03 Aug 2006 03:20 PM
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