As the mother of five small children October is synonymous with fall family fun – apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, cider & donuts, and Halloween costumes, parties and candy!   But orange isn’t the only color synonymous with October. From football to fashion and food, pink is also the signature color of October as people of all ages across the country commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month -  -  an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.

According to recent statistics, about 1 in 8 women in the United States will get breast cancer. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women. Mammograms can help find breast cancer early when there is the best chance for treatment. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.

In addition to encouraging early detection and treatment, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a solemn time to remember those who lost the battle against breast cancer, and to celebrate and support survivors of the disease. Breast cancer survivors and those who love them know that survivors often report problems with memory or feelings of mental slowness following treatment for the disease, which can lead to depression, anxiety, fatigue and an overall poorer quality of life.

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Post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment (PCCI), often referred to as “chemo brain” or “chemo fog” describes the cognitive impairment that can result from chemotherapy treatment. It is reported that approximately 20–30% of all people who undergo chemotherapy, including 10-40% of breast cancer survivors, experience some level of post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment. While any cancer patient may experience temporary cognitive impairment due to stress, fatigue, or depression, the long-term symptoms of PCCI are almost exclusively seen in patients treated for breast cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system.

Awareness and understanding of post chemotherapy cognitive impairment is more important than ever due to the large number of women who survive breast cancer, the more aggressive dosing of chemotherapeutic agents, and the use of chemotherapy as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. In some patients, fear of PCCI may even impact treatment decisions.

A new Indiana University study, the first of its kind, offers hope for breast cancer survivors suffering cognitive impairment after chemotherapy.  The results, recently published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, showed that after brain training, survivors improved both memory performance and the ability and speed with which they were able to process information. The study included 82 breast cancer survivors who reported concerns about their cognitive function after chemotherapy treatment. Each woman completed cognitive assessments prior to, immediately after, and two months after training.

LearningRx Warren, a local brain training company, is proud to sponsor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by inviting breast cancer survivors or their loved ones to call or visit our Center to learn more about how LearningRx brain training can enhance memory, thought processing speed and other vital brain skills compromised in connection with a breast cancer survivor’s treatment.  Breast cancer survivors who mention this campaign will also receive $100 off the cost of a cognitive skills assessment (normally $299), which will pinpoint the skills in need of strengthening and training. LearningRx Warren will also donate a portion of the cost of each breast cancer survivor’s assessment to Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

For more information on the Indiana University study go to: Indiana University School of Medicine. (2012, October 7). "Breast Cancer Symptom Management May Be Improved By Memory, Thought-Process Training." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/251127.php.