Managing Forgetfulness and Inability to Concentrate

Southern Tier Cancer Care


Chemotherapy has rarely been associated with cognitive deficits—problems with thinking, learning, and memory. Cognitive deficits may include forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating.


If you do experience this, your problems with memory and concentration may improve once you complete your chemotherapy, but there is also a possibility that these will be long-term problems.


More common factors that contribute to memory and concentration problems include:

  • Aging
  • Mental and emotional stress of coping with cancer
  • Depression
  • Menopause
  • Low blood counts
  • Medications


Treating Forgetfulness

At this time, there are no proven treatments for cognitive deficits associated with chemotherapy. Scientists are studying possible treatments to help relieve this side effect.


Other actions to manage forgetfulness

Problems with memory and concentration can be very frustrating. While there may not be confirmed treatments at this time, there are things you can do to reduce the impact these problems have on your daily life:

  • Minimize distractions when you need to complete tasks that require concentration.
  • Use a daily organizer to help you remember appointments.
  • Keep a journal of daily events and activities.
  • Carry a notebook, and use it to write down important information that you want to remember.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise daily as tolerated.
  • Manage stress.