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Think Neuro Podcast Episode 14 Cover Dr. Gowrinathan
March 17, 2021

Treating the Effects of Cancer on Mind and Spirit | Dr. Shanthi Gowrinathan

by Anthony Effinger

The Think Neuro podcast from Pacific Neuroscience Institute takes you into the clinic, operating room and laboratory with doctors and surgeons who are tackling the most challenging brain diseases and disorders. Host: Anthony Effinger

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Episode 14: Show Notes

Treating cancer involves more than treating the body. The disease takes a toll on the mind, too, no matter what organ system it affects.

Cancer and treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy come with mental costs as well. Depression, anxiety, cognitive symptoms, and insomnia are common after cancer treatment. There is also a syndrome that patients call “chemo brain” and doctors call “frontal lobe dysfunction.” It’s not an official diagnosis, but patients who suffer from it say they are more irritable, they can’t tolerate loud noises or crowded spaces.

Dr. Shanthi Gowrinathan has seen all of these things. She’s the Director of Psycho-Oncology at PNI, and she specializes in the mental health of cancer patients. She uses a combination of talk therapy and medication to help people recover their mental and spiritual bearings while coping with the disease. She is excited about PNI’s new Treatment & Research in Psychedelics (TRIP) program because studies have shown great potential for substances like psilocybin in treating depression. Research in the area is key to finding more options for rebooting the brain after cancer.

About Dr. Gowrinathan

Shanthi Gowrinathan MD

Shanthi Gowrinathan, MD, is an accomplished inpatient and outpatient psychiatrist, specializing in both Women’s Psychiatry and Psycho-oncology (Cancer Psychiatry) who works collaboratively in the care of her patients.

Dr. Gowrinathan integrates her recommendations with the patient’s medical teams to ensure a whole person, interdisciplinary and cohesive treatment approach.

Gifted with the strong ability to empathetically connect with her patients quickly, Dr. Gowrinathan is proficient at diagnosing and treating psychiatric disease in the context of complex medical issues such as cancer diagnosis.

Check Out More Think Neuro Podcast Episodes

About the Author

Anthony Effinger

Anthony Effinger

Think Neuro's host is Anthony Effinger, an award-winning journalist who is fascinated with neuroscience and the workings of the brain. Anthony spent 24 years at Bloomberg News, where he covered all aspects of finance, with forays into science and health. In 2006, the Association of Health Care Journalists awarded him first prize for Playing the Odds, an in-depth piece on the changing strategies used to treat prostate cancer. These days, he is a staff writer at Willamette Week, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Last updated: March 19th, 2021