With the treatment of cancer, comes side effects that may remain long-term.

Although toxic drugs that are used to treat cancer patients attack cancer cells, they also affect the healthy cells, causing temporary problems such as hair loss, dry mouth, sickness, lethargy and forgetfulness.

But in some patients, these side effects can remain for up to ten years after ending their treatment. And because cancer patients are only starting to be educated about the side effects to help them cope better, many previous patients never had the luxury as to be properly prepared for what may come with chemotherapy.

Sue Kernaghan who underwent chemotherapy for aggressive breast had been told of the severe side-effects but had not anticipated them to remain for six long years after treatment.

"After my chemotherapy, I was in a state of shock because I was trying to cope and couldn't. Then it dawned on me that I wasn't getting my cognitive skills back," says the 56-year-old.

She is one of the many thousands who suffer from chemobrain (also known as chemo fog) which is an impairment to their memory, concentration and the way they think caused by chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy has saved many lives and cancer survival rates have improved greatly since records began in 1971. However, "not enough attention has been given to the effects cancer treatment has on the daily lives of patients," says Professor Jessica Corner, chief clinician at the Macmillan Cancer Support.

"There has been a tendency for health professionals not to give patients enough detail and information about how they will be affected by cancer treatment.

"This means they haven't been prepared for it, nor are they able to plan around it."

Thankfully, this is now changing with cancer charities providing as much information about the possibility of long-term chemobrain before they start their treatment.



Read more: Chemobrain [Mail Online]