Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Chemo Brain

  • Samantha KnightEmail author
  • Daniel Smith
  • Carol L. Armstrong
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9027


“chemobrain”; “chemo fog”; Post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment

Definition and Overview

“Chemo brain” is the widely used lay term for post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment (PCCI). It is experienced by approximately 20–30% of cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy (Ganz et al. 2013; McDougall et al. 2014). This phenomenon first came to light in breast cancer survivors who reported cognitive deficits in memory, attention, and verbal fluency after their treatments (Tannock et al. 2004). A review by Ahles et al. (2012) found that 17–75% of women experienced deficits in attention, concentration, working memory, and executive function 6 months to 20 years after chemotherapy and that a significant proportion of patients have cognitive impairment prior to any treatment. Cognitive complaints have corresponded with depression, but not with objective neurological deficits (Peralta 2013). PCCI is most widely reported in cancers treated aggressively with chemotherapy: colorectal,...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha Knight
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Smith
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carol L. Armstrong
    • 4
  1. 1.MedicineRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublinIreland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Winship Cancer InstituteEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA