Our new Understanding Changes in Thinking and Memory factsheet can help you make sense of cognitive changes due to cancer and cancer treatments. Naveena, a Cancer Council volunteer, reviewed the resource and spoke to us about her own experience.
Can you tell us about your experience with thinking and memory?
It’s been interesting for me as a change process. I used to be able to recall and process things quickly. What used to take me five minutes now takes me twenty or thirty minutes. I’ve also found it difficult to go back to my old job. It’s frustrating. I’ve had to adopt ways of getting around it.
What would you tell people experiencing these changes?
Be kind to yourself and utilise whatever resources you can. Whether that’s technological, or using your family and friends. Don’t be ashamed of asking for help because it’s not your fault.
What would you tell people going through this?
Be kind to loved ones and colleagues. Once your hair grows back after cancer treatment people think you look well, and that’s not always the case. It’s just looking on the outside but there’s all sorts of stuff going down inside.
Naveena’s tips include:
- Ask friends and family to send reminders, for example if you’re going to meet up, or to pay bills.
- Have someone take notes of discussions, such as financial discussions, so you can go back over them.
- It’s important for people going through this to feel like they’re not alone. Try not to get annoyed or lose patience.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
We especially acknowledge and thank Naveena for her time and contribution.
Download or order factsheet
A complementary podcast Brain Fog and Cancer is also available to download from Cancer Council NSW
Listen to podcast
To speak with someone who understands what you're going through, call 13 11 20 and ask about our Cancer Connect program or submit your request online.
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For people with cancer this can become a much bigger problem, along with changes in thinking and memory that can make it hard to plan. The University of Sydney is exploring cancer survivors’ perception of the factsheet designed to inform them about this problem and what they can do to alleviate these problems. The study involves a brief survey and taking part in a telephone interview to tell us what you think about the factsheet.
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