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Mental side effects hormone and chemo therapy.

Posted 22 December 2017 16:57:46(UTC)

My father (72) was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer (PSA ~900, lymph and bone mestases) a couple of month ago.  Before his diagnosis, he lost quite some weight and muscle - to an extend walking is difficult for him.  His weight dropped from 83kg to slightly below 70kg. 

He gets hormone therapy (Firmagon), Bisphosphonate and started Chemotherapy (Doxatel, got his first infusion on Dec 11th).  Even I am fully aware that this treatment is no permanent cure, he is doing better physically: He regained some weight and is overall more active.

But what bothers me: He has increasing memory loss.  It seems to have started after the chemotherapy, but we cannot be sure if it is because of this, a side effect of any of the other therapies or the cancer itself.  In hospital, they did a CT scan of the brain which was clean.  I called the center he is getting the Chemotherapy and they suggested it might be dehydration.

Does anyone have similar experience?  

Posted 22 December 2017 20:36:53(UTC)

Possible causes include
- dehydration
- the hormone treatment can cause confusion / memory problems
- too much calcium in his blood (sometimes linked to bone mets)
- dementia can sometimes be triggered by a one off trauma such as being diagnosed with cancer
- existing memory loss becomes more marked because the person is worrying, attending appointments at new venues, etc or
- family can sometimes fail to notice existing memory loss but after diagnosis of a serious illness, suddenly become hyper-aware of it

Easy to rule out dehydration by making sure he takes on plenty of fluids and see if it improves. Fairly easy to rule out calcium with his next blood test. If it is the hormones, it may settle down a bit.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

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