Dr. M. Beatriz Currier, Medical Director of Cancer Patient Support Center with Miami Cancer Institute, says cancer is a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated appropriately. “It is not due to poor coping skills or a weakness in someone's character," she adds. The specialist affirms with good treatment most patients do very well and with good quality of life. Dr. Currier recommends patients to be candid with their relatives and to seek at least an initial consult with either their primary care physician or someone who helps clarify diagnosis.
The main symptoms of chemo brain are: being unusually disorganized, confusion, difficulty concentrating, difficulty finding the right word, difficulty learning new skills, difficulty multitasking fatigue, feeling of mental fogginess, short attention span, trouble with verbal memory and trouble with visual memory, among others. Dr. M. Beatriz Currier, Medical Director of Cancer Patient Support Center with Miami Cancer Institute, affirms most patients are forgetful of what they need to do and they have to start writing lists of things to do and they start using their smartphones as reminders of what needs to be done.
In patients with severe depression, there is an area in the frontal lobe (called the prefrontal cortex) in which there seems to be diminished functional capacity, describes Dr. M. Beatriz Currier, Medical Director of Cancer Patient Support Center with Miami Cancer Institute. She uses a digital diagram to explain what a firing brain cell looks like. For example, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are key chemicals that need to be transmitted effectively in order to mediate the symptoms of well-being in mental health, she says.
Dr. M. Beatriz Currier, Medical Director of Cancer Patient Support Center with Miami Cancer Institute, explains some studies show there are some changes to the brain with certain types of chemotherapy. She also affirms studies also show that many of those changes returned back to normal sometimes after chemotherapy or some types of radiation treatment. The specialist explains factors that contribute to chemo brain such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, the disease itself and surgery.
The longer depression goes untreated typically the more severe it becomes. Dr. M. Beatriz Currier, Medical Director of Cancer Patient Support Center with Miami Cancer Institute, says if a patient has an episode of depression It's very important to get early treatment and an appropriate diagnosis. There are many different options of treatments. In case of moderate to severe depressions, at Miami Cancer Institute it is recommended adding on an antidepressant and combining this with talk therapy, she describes. The specialist also says the combination of both, talk therapy and antidepressant, can achieve remission rates close to 90% in her patients.