Breast Cancer Patients Need More Help to Manage Cognitive Decline from Chemotherapy, Study Says

Breast Cancer Patients Need More Help to Manage Cognitive Decline from Chemotherapy, Study Says
Almost 50 percent of women with breast cancer have cognitive decline during chemotherapy, and 30 percent have it a year after treatment, according to a recent study. These findings highlight the need for a tool to screen and help manage patients at risk of cognitive impairment, researchers say. The study “Distinct and heterogeneous trajectories of self‐perceived cognitive impairment among Asian breast cancer survivors” was published in the journal Psycho-Oncology. Chemotherapy-associated cognitive dysfunction, often referred to as “chemo brain,” includes self-reported and objectively measured problems with cognition following chemotherapy. Increasing evidence suggests that 17% to 75% of breast cancer survivors experience cognitive deficits — problems with attention, concentration, planning, and working memory — from a few months to several years after receiving chemotherapy. Cognitive decline can significantly affect the daily life of patients, and even mild cognitive problems can have functional and psychiatric consequences, especially when persistent and left untreated. “Knowing when patients experience these cognitive problems, and how long the symptoms persist, can aid the development of suitable screening and clinical management measures,” Alexandre Chan, the study’s lead researcher, said in a press release. Chan and his team at
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