More Cognitive Difficulties for Patients After Chemotherapy

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More Cognitive Difficulties for Patients After Chemotherapy
More Cognitive Difficulties for Patients After Chemotherapy

TUESDAY, Jan. 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with non-cancer controls, patients with breast cancer treated with chemotherapy have more cognitive difficulties up to six months after treatment, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Michelle C. Janelsins, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues conducted a large, prospective, nationwide study involving 581 patients with breast cancer from community oncology clinics and 364 age-matched non-cancer controls. Participants completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function (FACT-Cog) at pre-chemotherapy and post-chemotherapy, and at a six-month follow-up.

The researchers found that, compared with controls, patients reported significantly greater cognitive difficulties on the FACT-Cog total score and four subscales from pre-chemotherapy to post-chemotherapy and from pre-chemotherapy to six-month follow-up (all P < 0.001). There were significant correlations for increased baseline anxiety, depression, and decreased cognitive reserve with lower FACT-Cog total scores. From post-chemotherapy to six-month follow-up, there was no significant correlation for treatment regimen, hormone, or radiation therapy with FACT-Cog total scores in patients. Compared with controls, patients were more likely to report a clinically significant decline in self-reported cognitive function from pre- to post-chemotherapy (45.2 versus 10.4 percent) and from pre-chemotherapy to six-month follow-up (36.5 versus 13.6 percent).

"Patients with breast cancer who were treated in community oncology clinics report substantially more cognitive difficulties up to six months after treatment with chemotherapy than do age-matched non-cancer controls," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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