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Junk Science? Number 28: Breast Chemotherapy shown to cause brain damage again

Breast Chemotherapy shown to cause brain damage, again

We have run previous studies in Cancer Watch showing this same finding, so this study on breast cancer published in Archives of Neurology comes as no real surprise. In this study, researchers from Stamford University Medical School followed 25 breast cancer patients who had had chemotherapy treatment – comparing them with 19 breast cancer patients who had surgery and other treatments and 18 healthy women.

All were asked to solve problems, sort cards and other mental tasks. Their brains were simultaneously monitored using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The 25 who had had chemo made more errors in the problems and the MRI scans showed reduced activity in areas of the brain responsible for working memory, cognitive control, monitoring and planning. This gives credence to the many women who have complained to their doctors in the past about ´foggy thinking´ after chemo.

The lead researcher Shelli Kesler said: ´This is a huge validation for these women who are telling their doctors ´something is wrong with me.´

Doctors have hitherto been quite dismissive when patients have complained of foggy thinking – in extreme cases there has been loss of vision, hearing and even dementia. Kesler added: ´This shows that when a patient reports she is struggling with these types of problems, there´s a good chance there has been a brain change.´

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