EXPERT VOICES

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Terri Ades (2 posts)  RSS

Chemo Brain: It is Real

April 09, 2012

By Terri Ades, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCN

 

Recently a colleague at work who had just returned from a getting a haircut mentioned to me that his hairdresser, who has lung cancer, was upset because her husband was very worried about her. The hairdresser explained that she had started having some memory problems - couldn't remember what she did yesterday or couldn't remember people's names.  And she had started to tell her husband something and stopped in the middle of her story - not remembering what to say next.  She too acknowledged being a little concerned and was seeing her doctor in 3 days, but she didn't know how to help her husband until then.  I asked if she was receiving chemotherapy and was told yes, so I explained that she might have "chemo brain."  


We've known for some time that radiation therapy to the brain can cause problems with thinking and memory. Now, we are learning that chemotherapy is linked to some of the same kinds of problems. Research has shown that some chemotherapy agents can cause certain kinds of changes in the brain. Though the brain usually recovers over time, the sometimes vague yet distressing mental changes cancer patients notice are real, not imagined. These changes can make people unable to go back to their school, work, or social activities, or make it so that it takes a lot of mental effort to do so.  These changes affect everyday life for many people receiving cancer treatment. More...

Filed Under:

Survivorship | Terri Ades

Why Everyone Deserves Palliative Care

November 29, 2011

By Terri Ades, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCN


As an advanced practice oncology nurse, I've been asked many interesting questions about cancer at cocktail parties. While I've never been asked about palliative care, my sense is that more people should be asking about it.  Opinion surveys indicate that the public does not understand palliative care.  So what?  Well, if the public doesn't understand it, then when they or a family member need it, they may be missing out on care they should be receiving.   


Palliative care is care given by specialized health professionals to improve the quality of life of individuals and families who face a serious illness. Palliative care addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of a person from the time of a diagnosis to the end of life.  It is the care that occurs to relieve symptoms (like pain, nausea, and fatigue) when someone is undergoing therapy to cure their  cancer, or to address their emotional suffering when they are told their cancer has progressed, or the social suffering they experience with limited income and health insurance, or their spiritual suffering when they have lost hope.   More...

Filed Under:

Survivorship | Terri Ades

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