Does chemotherapy really harm the brain? Readers touched by cancer sound off.

April 26, 2009
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More Side Effects? In 2001 my wife received chemotherapy for lung cancer. One of the side effects was "chemobrain." Her symptoms were different from those mentioned in "The Cloud Over Chemotherapy" (Perspective, April 5). She became ornery, mean-spirited, and derogatory, which was completely opposite from her normal self. By the way, the only thing chemo did for her was to let her live for a few months longer, but at a huge financial cost and a poor quality of life.

Joseph J. Saia / Lynnfield

Chemo patients and cancer survivors are going to be furious with Ellen Clegg's essay. Without offering any proven statistics, it is nothing short of a scare tactic. Does she really think that when we lose our hair and get so sick, we don't think about the other effects it could be having? Would we choose something else if we had that option? Well, right now we don't have other options.

Sue-Ann Morency / Easton

I thought I was going crazy after my breast cancer treatments. I have (or used to have) great recall for really trivial things -- like my best friend's phone number from 30 years ago. Now I can meet a person and five minutes later not remember her name. A few months after finishing chemo, my fabulous oncologist asked me if I had any problems with memory, and I just about hugged him, because he validated what I was feeling. Thanks to Clegg for validating it once again.

Anne P. Bisson / Sudbury

I had breast cancer and went through chemo. Chemobrain is not something that affected me, though I don't doubt some people do experience it. I feel one's overall outlook in life is where the story begins. I take things as they come and don't blame someone or something else for what happens in my life, including cancer. So therefore I had fewer problems with treatment than other cancer patients I know. I would hate to see patients not get necessary treatment because of potential side effects.

Tricia Canelli / Framingham

Real Moms Regarding Lylah Alphonse's Parenting Traps (April 5), as a stepmom, here's my take: We are helping to raise and, in some cases, are full-time parenting kids who didn't start out as our own. While we may not be the biological mothers to our husband's kids, we're still playing a mothering role, and there's nothing insignificant or wicked about that. Some might even call it selfless. Without a doubt, it takes bravery. And a sense of humor.

Izzy Rose / Austin, Texas

Having raised my 27- and 31-year-old stepdaughters since they were 8 and 13, I know I love them and have gone through hard labor throughout their lives that qualifies me as a "real parent." When my husband and I decided to have a baby nine years ago, I really felt uncomfortable when people said, "How nice that you will finally have one of your own." I still don't quite get why loving children you commit to but didn't actually give birth to is so confusing for some people.

Joyce Davis / North Reading

Mismatched I confess to reading Dinner With Cupid every week, but with increasing discomfort. This is a cruel example of public humiliation in the guise of matching up singles. Granted, the volunteers must know that there is the possibility of disappointment and humiliation, but there must be a better, kinder way!

Carolyn Bishop / Belmont

Seen on the Web Regarding Coupling (April 5), reader Ashleykate on wrote: There is no doubt that a huge difference exists between an arranged marriage and an arranged introduction. Hopefully, there is nobody ignorant enough in your life not to realize that. Many couples meet through introductions -- by friends, family, co-workers.