Avatar universal


This question is probably a little different and out there.

My surgeon has advised me that I will need chemo.  How long will be dependent on the result of surgery and how many lymph nodes are involved.

Potential cognitive changes are a big deal to me and I am considering declining chemo.

Have you had any experience with chemo-induced cognitive changes or chemo brain, etc?

I'm wondering if nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc are better for me long-term.

I need to speak with the oncologist about this which will be arranged after surgery but in the mean time I am trying to get as much info as possible in order for me to make an informed choice.
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2206149 tn?1342693017
Hi Jaquta, I just want to add here that never ever give up. And as they say "Yesterday's a cancelled check, tomorrow's a promissory note, but today is cash, spend it wisely." So enjoy your life to the hilt. May be God would one day open his eyes and make this world pain and disease free.
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Avatar universal
Hi Adelle

Your book would be worth looking into.  It makes sense to go with the med that is least toxic.

I currently see a clinical psychologist.  Last week he said he did neuropsychological testing up at the hospital so perhaps he would be a good person to ask about establishing a baseline.

I'll try Googling your name to see if the blog info comes up there.  MedHelp doesn't seem to accept web addresses.

Thanks very much for that.

Michael made a good comment above about making life-saving decisions.  I guess a lot is secondary to life.  Quality of life must factor in there somewhere too though.

Thank you for taking the time to write.  I will try and access a copy of your book and look at your blog.

Many thanks.
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Avatar universal
Yes, sorry!  I should have added for breast cancer but I guess I was just hoping for any advice regarding the effects of chemo on the brain, etc.

That's perhaps a little reassuring to hear that the effects ?may be reversible or self-resolving after one to two years.
Is easy to see how other variables such as sleep and stress could be responsible for some of the changes some women note.

I need to check out the effect of exercise on inflammation.
I exercise but have chronic severe stress.  I am trying other ways to better manage my stress/ anxiety.  Exercise in combination with stress management/ relaxation exercises may work bettre to reduce inflammation.

Thanks.  My doctor is OK with me exercising but will need to limit what I do as appropriate to my Tx plan at the time.

I had my pre-op assessment today and have been cleared for surgery.  I have a chest infection following the flu but will see my GP and get some antibiotics and hopefully that will clear that up.
My resting HR seemed elevated at 54 bpm and my O2 saturation a little low at 97-98%.  Not enough to affect surgery but enough for me to feel. BP was 102/ 72.

Thanks for taking the time to provide all that information, I really appreciated it.
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3121866 tn?1342134184
Dear Jaquta,

I am co-author (with Dan Silverman, MD, PhD at UCLA) of the book, “Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus.”  I have some suggestions that may help:

First, ask your oncologists to tell you what the scientific literature says about the chemotherapy drugs he or she will be prescribing in terms of the potential for cognitive impairment.  Some drugs are highly suspect and your doctor should know which ones they are (we identify some in our book).  You may be lucky in that there is more than one drug protocol that will be effective for you.  If so, ask about going with the one that’s safer.

Second, ask your doctor to refer you to a neuropsychologist before you start chemo for a full cognitive workup.  That will establish a baseline for what your functioning is prior to treatment.  The neuropsychologist can then monitor you over the next few months and work with you if your memory or other cognitive processes start to decline.

You’ll find more information on my blog (www.*****.com ) which is dedicated specifically to this topic.  A good place to start is by entering the word, “research,” in the search box which will take you to articles about some of the current studies.

Good luck!

Idelle Davidson

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1741471 tn?1407159030
Hi there and thanks so much for posting this question.

Are you speaking of breast cancer? I have been working with breast cancer patients but I am not a Pathologist so I would suggest you ask those specific questions regarding lymph nodes although I will like to share how exercise can help you when undergoing chemo.

From breastcancer.org
Chemo and potential cognitive decline Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. : This is a good question. Many women describe problems with short-term memory and with concentration when receiving really any chemotherapy. Some of the changes in cognitive function (thinking and concentration) can be due to a variety of problems, such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, information overload, a busy lifestyle, and depression and anxiety

I would say that long-term memory problems (persisting or lasting more than one to two years) are uncommon. If you are affected, however, this can be a very troubling, annoying, and frustrating effect of chemotherapy. The hormonal changes that chemotherapy can cause, such as "chemopause," may be responsible in large part for the memory and concentration problems
keep reading go here http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/chemotherapy/ask_expert/question_06.jsp.

I would suggest that you follow your surgeon advise in the case you are not sure get a second opinion. I know that you are concern with potential cognitive changes although life is by far more important and thanks to the plasticity of the brain you can recover cognitive abilities

Lets go now to Breast Cancer and Lifestyle

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant(cancer) cells form inthe tissues of the breast. About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2012, an estimated 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
However  there are clear reasons for hope and full recovery after treatment. Exercise can play a fundamental role in the emotional well being and also fron the physiological point of view of the individual.
It is known Chronic low-grade inflammation is a possible risk factor for cancer that may be modifiable with long-term exercise
According to National Breast Cancer Foundation
“Exercise pumps up the immune system and lowers estrogen levels. With as little as four hours of exercise per week, a woman can begin to lower her risk of breast cancer”


It is well established that regular exercise can help prevent breast cancer (Peel et al. 2009). Recently researchers have determined that high levels of IGF -1 often present in sedentary individuals can increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence (Ligibel et al.2008)
Along the same lines a 2005 study of 3,000 breast cancer patients found that just 1 hour of walking per week significantly increase the patient’s likelihood of making a full recovery (American Cancer Society 2005)

Cardiovascular and strength training appear to be equally beneficial in generating anti depressive effects (Brosse et al. 2002) so it makes sense that regular exercise and resistance exercises could also be used to manage depression or anxiety triggered by the trauma of breast cancer diagnosis. The greatest results appear to be alter 17 weeks of exercise although small changes can be observed alter 4 weeks (Scully et al.1998)

Most people know that exercise can help prevent breast cancer as well as increase the likelihood of a full recovery after treatment. However, it is not as widely recognized that regular exercise can also mitigate many f the symptoms of cancer treatment. Here are few of the most notable benefits:

-Increased functional capacity
-Increased postmasectomy mobility and Range of Motion
-Decreased of Body Fat
-Increased Lean muscle mass
-Reduced loss of bone mineral density
-Decreased nausea and fatigue
-Improved mood- self esteem and control
In short exercise can be beneficial before, during and alter a diagnose of breast cancer

I hoper this helps and before you start any physical exercise program please consult with your doctor.
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