Breast Cancer Patients Report ‘Chemo Brain’ Up to 6 Months After Treatment, Study Says

Breast Cancer Patients Report ‘Chemo Brain’ Up to 6 Months After Treatment, Study Says
Breast cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy can experience cognitive difficulties for up to six months after treatment, according to a new study. Impaired memory, trouble completing tasks, and difficulty focusing are among the symptoms of what cancer patients call "chemo brain." The problem is significant for patients, the researchers said, but limitations in previous studies have left many questions about it unanswered, including its causes and why it affects breast cancer patients. The study, "Cognitive Complaints in Survivors of Breast Cancer After Chemotherapy Compared With Age-Matched Controls: An Analysis From a Nationwide, Multicenter, Prospective Longitudinal Study" was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It was led by Michelle C. Janelsins-Benton, PhD, at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Wilmot Cancer Institute in New York. Researchers performed a nationwide, longitudinal assessment involving 581 patients and 364 cancer-free and age-matched controls.  Their goals were to determine the prevalence of cognitive difficulties among breast cancer patients; look for a correlation with factors such as age, race, and menopausal status; and evaluate the impact of the drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin). Forty-eight percent of the patients in the study were receiving a doxorubicin-based treatment. The researchers used a tool called Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function (FACT-Cog) to evaluate the patients before and after chemotherapy, and six months later. Controls
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