Priscilla Gates
 Feb 21, 2020

Understanding 'chemo brain'

For years people with cancer have worried about and been frustrated by the mental cloudiness they sometimes notice before, during and after cancer treatment. Even though its exact cause isn’t known, and it can happen at any time when you have cancer, this mental fog is commonly called chemo brain.


The sometimes vague yet distressing mental changes people with cancer notice are real, not imagined. They might last a short time, or they might go on for years. These changes can sometimes make people with cancer unable to go back to their everyday life.

Here at the ONJ Cancer Centre staff are continually asking questions and researching how they can do even more for people with cancer, such as conquering the mental fog of chemo brain.  This includes Priscilla Gates, ONJ Cancer Centre Bone Marrow Transplant and Survivorship Nurse Consultant.

Priscilla is an inaugural recipient of the Austin Health Nursing Alumni Scholarship, made possible through your donations for nurses last year.
Because of your support, Priscilla is currently undertaking research to better understand chemo brain including when and how to best administer early screenings and then, building evidence based rehabilitation resources including brain training for patients. 

“Chemo brain is a very distressing and disabling side effect of cancer treatments, affecting more than 30% of people with cancer,” says Priscilla.   
“Nurses are ideally placed to conduct early screenings and support yet there is little evidence about when and how it’s best to do so.  The scholarship means I’m able to conduct world leading research to better guide chemo brain treatment not only for patients with us at the ONJ Cancer Centre but also around the world.”

Find out more about the Austin Health Nursing Alumni Scholarships