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Breast cancer for the under-50s

Breast cancer is far less common in the under-50s, but this can leave younger people with a diagnosis feeling isolated. This group is a place for them to come together, share experiences and support each other.

Memory and cognitive function

Ali.24
Posted by

Morning everyone, 

I haven’t posted for quite some time.

I was diagnosed and treated in 2014/2015. I now take letrozole ( have been for over a year now), after taking tamoxifen. 
My mental clarity is not getting much better. I still struggle with finding the right words and my memory is dreadful. 
Are there any of you who are still like this and what, if anything, are you doing about it? It’s beginning to get me down now. 

Dreamthief
Posted by

Morning

Yes, everyone is nodding in agreement  - Chemo Brain symptoms that continue under Hormone Therapy tablets is a 'thing'  

The medspeak term for it is Cognitive Impairment (info link) and you don't even need to have been through chemo to suffer from it.   The oestrogen buster tablets alone can also cause this :-/ 

It can be comical in conversations at times when you pause to think of the word you need and your brain selects the wrong one but it can wear your down when you couple it with all the other baggage like forgetting where you put something etc.

Afraid there isn't much to fix this, only ways to help you cope with it - There's more info about that in the link above.

You could contact your GP about this to see if there are any cognitive tests you could have; if only to get a base figure to see it it is getting worse over time ?

Hope this is of some help, take care, G n' J

wombat.23
Posted by

Hi

Yes, I can fully relate to this. I don't know if it is because of early menopause or letrozole or just after treatment effects. I have been taking letrozole for just under 3 years now. My memory is terrible. I will be thinking about something, then I can be distracted and then I cannot remember at all what I was thinking about. It usually comes back to me, but it might be in a couple of hours! And of course the classic going into a room and forgetting what I went in there for. I am always forgetting where I put things and then getting into a panic because I don't know where things are. I am ok at remembering words but there have been a few times when I am writing on the board (I am a teacher) and I suddenly have a brain freeze about spelling words - this never happened before treatment. At work I find it useful to have lots of post-it notes to help me remember if there is something I need to do out of my routine. If I am doing things online, I often take photos of customer numbers, order numbers etc and I use the notes on my phone too. 

I think I have accepted that it is the after treatment person that I am now. I don't think it is getting better or worse, it just can be really frustrating at times. 

Not very helpful I am afraid, but at least you know it is not just you!

Cwtches, 

Gay xxx

Sukki17
Posted by

Hello, 

I too, am worried and quite shocked about my dreadful memory and cognitive ability.  I am a teacher and often find I  can not explain things, or even forget what I am supposed to be explaining half-way through a lesson.  I love reading and have usually been pretty good at finding the right word for things, but now, I forget the most simplest of words.  I am on Tamoxifen for 10 years.  I have not had many side-effects, other than the appalling memory situation.   I don't know if it is menopause related or a side-effect of the drug.  My thinking is that it might be a combination of the two. 

I am planning on taking up Suduko and going to try and learn a poem every 2 weeks, and I hope this might help!  I will let you know how I get on.  

Good luck with everything. 

TAke Care, 

Sukki.xxx

m123
Posted by

I found I got a bit vague on tamoxifen - I'd start a task, go to look something up for it and forget what I was doing, etc.

I use a lot of post it notes and lists to keep track of things, and sometimes scribble down a note about what I'm doing so I can get back to it.

I've been really open about my treatment at work so I can make a joke when I forget the point I'm making. It doesn't happen often but that's partly because I won't always speak if I'm not sure I'll remember what I wanted to say. Notes help with that too. I tell people who suggest something at work in conversation to email me about it if they want to take it further because I won't remember. That way remembering is on them, not on me. I've only forgotten a word I really needed during a public talk once - it felt bad at the time but it wasn't the end of the world.

I like the idea of reading poetry!

I don't think lockdown is helping, as every day is almost exactly like the one before. Even my partner's finding that neither of us can remember what we had for dinner the day before.