Chemo Brain: What is It?

Chemo brain, also known as cancer-related cognitive impairment or chemotherapy brain fog, is a condition that can be caused by chemotherapy treatment, the cancer itself, or other cancer treatments. Of note, chemo brain is not dementia and there is no evidence that it leads to dementia.

“It feels as if you’re wearing a cap on your head that’s made of fog.” – Cancer survivor

Symptoms of chemo brain include forgetfulness, word finding difficulties, poor focus and concentration, difficulty multitasking, taking longer to complete routine tasks, disorganization, and feeling sluggish.

Chemo brain is extremely common. In fact, as many as 75% of cancer patients have experienced it during their treatment, and approximately one third of patients continue to struggle with it after treatment. For most individuals, the effects resolve within 6-9 months. But for others, the fog persists for years and sometimes even decades.

Unfortunately, the cognitive side effects of cancer treatment can be debilitating, leading to a cancer patient’s inability to return to work and/or school. The goal is for individuals not only to live as long as possible, but also live a high-quality life.

Research has shown that individuals with chemo brain benefit from Cognitive Rehabilitation, which is a treatment focused on learning to adapt and cope with the above symptoms. The NRS|LS Cognitive Rehabilitation Program offers an individualized treatment plan with a full range of services, from consultation to treatment completion.

If you or a loved one is suffering from cognitive changes secondary to a cancer diagnosis, please call our office for a consultation.


Michelle Blose, PsyD
Neuropsychology, Post-Doctoral Fellow
NJ Permit: TP# 203-032