Chicago: Women who survive breast cancer after undergoing chemotherapy may also have to contend with impairments in attention, memory and planning skills, U.S. researchers said Monday.They said women who had undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer had significantly less activity in parts of the brain responsible for executive functioning tasks compared with breast cancer patients who were not treated with chemotherapy.Among those treated with chemotherapy, the study also found a strong correlation between women who complained they were having trouble with memory and thinking skills and actual deficits in these regions of the brain.The study may help explain why many breast cancer patients complain of "chemo brain" -- a term used to describe foggy thinking and memory lapses following treatment with chemotherapy."This is a huge validation for these women who are telling their doctors `something is wrong with me`," said Shelli Kesler of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, whose study appears in the Archives of Neurology.Kesler said the conventional thinking is that chemotherapy drugs cannot cross a protective membrane called the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from toxins.
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