November 29, 2006

What Do You Expect From A Poison?

My family is "et up" with cancer. My mother died in her early 50's from it, my father's brother died in his late 40's from it & various & sundry other relatives have succumbed to it over the years (though not without putting up a helluva fight - stubborness for good or ill is genetic methinks). It may sound morbid but I'm pretty sure that I'll have a go with it at some point considering my genes & the way I live (I used to be a guitar player for cryin' out loud lol) unless of course my mouth gets me killed first (no one I know wants to place odds on that for some reason). So in the interests of furthering my audiences general knowledge I offer the following non gun related info:

Chemo Temporarily Shrinks Brain Areas: Study

"Chemotherapy promotes a short-term, but apparently reversible, shrinkage of key brain areas, new research shows.

These changes could explain the impairment of thinking, memory, and focus that many cancer patients complain of after treatment, a Japanese research team has found.

The changes are marked by a temporary dimunition of certain brain areas that help people concentrate, plan, problem-solve, execute, and remember. This shrinkage can bring on a general cognitive malaise often called 'chemo-brain.'

However, these reductions in brain matter were no longer evident three and four years after chemotherapy, the Japanese team reported Monday in the online edition of Cancer."

A similar result was found in an unrelated study of people going through some sort of group ritualized torture known as "college" (sorry - shouldn't joke about that but I couldn't resist)

Of course a lot more people are living longer after chemo nowadays. My mom made it 4 years after the initial treatments & my uncle lasted maybe 3 or 4 years. In both cases the cancer came back in a more aggressive form & finished them off. But this does help explain some of the odd behavior they went through during treatments (I thought my mother used to bitch at me to get a haircut when I was a teenager! lol). & for anyone who doesn't know; chemo is just a controlled dosage of a specialized poison (cyotoxic drugs) designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of the cancer cells (but not exclusively the cancer cells, hence the nasty side effects).

Posted by Publicola at November 29, 2006 04:39 AM | TrackBack

When I was young my grandfather went through Chemotherapy to fight lung cancer. It made him very sick and I wondered aloud at the time if the cure might not be worse than the disease.

My grandmother explained it thusly:

Chemotherapy is the practice of poisoning a cancer patient with the hope that the cancer dies before the patient does.

Seemed pretty apropos to me at the time and, after having had several other friends and family members go through it, it still does.

Posted by: sailorcurt at November 29, 2006 08:01 AM
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