Book Review: Your Brain After Chemo

Posted on: March 8th, 2013 by

Your Brain After Chemo


This is what many cancer patients and survivors will feel while reading the excellent book Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus.

Written by Dan Silverman, MD, PhD, and award-winning journalist and breast cancer survivor Idelle Davidson, this book validates what cancer patients and survivors have been telling doctors for a long time:

Chemotherapy can cause significant cognitive dysfunction – even years after treatment.

This well-researched book provides alarming-but-necessary information on chemotherapy’s effect on patients’ cognitive abilities. A significant number of patients reported concentration losses, multitasking problems, attention deficits, as well as many types of memory loss. Your Brain After Chemo complements facts with moving personal stories of patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced cognitive changes, creating a comprehensive account of patient experiences.

The authors also address another major effect of treatment – patients feeling they are negatively perceived at home and work. In fact, the authors do a great job covering the effects on the family of cancer and the cognitive dysfunction associated with treatments.

Your Brain After Chemo is also well-balanced, covering other factors that can affect the brain during cancer diagnosis and treatment, such as depression, fatigue, and anxiety. The book acknowledges that there is a fine line between a patient who has cognitive impairment and one who has depression, pointing out that mood can also affect cognitive functioning and vice versa. The book highlights that depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment are sometimes all intertwined. For example, according to the authors, when people are depressed, “they also struggle with memory, attention, and concentration problems.”

The authors also guide readers through the kinds of questions about chemotherapy that patients can ask their doctors. Silverman and Davidson also provide excellent information on methods that might work to alleviate depression – such as cognitive therapy, yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. The book also covers foods that can help foster a healthy mind, as well as ways of coping with insomnia, fatigue, inattention, and problems concentrating.

Particularly useful is a nine-step daily program designed to help patients and former patients improve focus and memory – and stay their healthiest.

Your Brain After Chemo will capture readers’ attention from the first page to the last. This well-written, easy-to-understand book will validate the concerns of current and former cancer patients. Silverman and Davidson champion their cause, which is near and dear to their hearts – to tell the truth about chemotherapy’s effects on the brain.

To purchase this book, click here.

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10 Responses to Book Review: Your Brain After Chemo

  1. AnneMarie had this to say about that:

    That book has been my bible since it was first released. I finally (it’s appropriate for this post!) found a way to keep my “blogs” straight so I don’t miss any new posts.

    It’s all about finding ways that are going to work. I still struggle with so much but I’m loving this website called “Feedly” …. Keeps all the blogs organized!

    Hugs to you,


    ps-LOVE this site…..

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi AnneMarie,

      I should check out Feedly, as I also need some kind of organization method.

      Yes, this book that I reviewed is outstanding and has become my bible, too. It is so well-written and covers so many topics within the chemo-realm. It’s a must-have, must-read.

      Thanks for your kind comment about my site. Hugs back!

  2. Idelle Davidson had this to say about that:

    Dear Beth,

    Thank you for your kind and beautifully written review of “Your Brain After Chemo.” I am so pleased that you found the book valuable.

    Just like you wrote “Calling the Shots” to help people navigate the healthcare system (BTW, I want your book! Where can I purchase a copy?), I wrote “Your Brain After Chemo” for pretty much the same reason. There was nothing out there like it when I was going through chemo. There was nothing that explained the science behind the phenomenon or provided personal accounts of others who had gone through it so I would know I was not alone. There certainly were no strategies available to help.

    So I am grateful for your support in helping me now help others know that information is out there to help lift the fog.

    — To my friend, AnneMarie, thanks for your comment as well.


    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Idelle,

      You are so welcome. The world needs your book, and I found it so very helpful to me. Your book was transformative and is a useful resource for anyone undergoing chemotherapy. Thank you for writing it.

      I’m in the process of trying to find a publisher for my book, so I’m hoping it will come out in the next year or two. I will announce when it comes out.

      I think it’s great to help others through our writing.

      Take care,


  3. chrysalis had this to say about that:

    Beth, thank you for posting this. I just did a post relating to Chemo Brain. I’ll have to check out this book. Thank you.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Chrysalis,

      You are welcome! I will have to check out your chemobrain post. This book is a must-read and very reader-friendly. I loved every page.

  4. Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

    This sounds like an excellent resource. When I first heard the term ‘chemobrain’ I wasn’t sure if this was something to be taken seriously or not due to the condescending (IMO at the time) tone of this word. Now I realize this indeed can be a serious side effect from chemotherapy for many. I’m so glad the topic is being taken more seriously of late. Books and posts like this certainly help in educating. I will be adding this to my to-read list. Thanks, Beth.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Nancy,

      I think you will really enjoy this book! It is really awesome and explains chemobrain so well. I agree that chemobrain can be a condescending-sounding word; I prefer the more technical “cognitive dysfunction.”

      So many doctors denied that I had this problem, but it was so real. Davidson’s book proves it’s real. I think you’ll find it a great resource.


  5. Tami Boehmer had this to say about that:

    Yes! We all need validation for this. I should give a copy to my husband! :)

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Tami, I’m sure your husband would enjoy it! It’s a great book, and it really explains a lot.

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