Chemotherapy likely to affect cognitive skills in breast cancer patients: Study
A recent survey brought out that breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy suffer a higher risk of developing mild cognitive deficits after completion of the treatment.
The findings were concluded by researchers after a large meta-analysis conducted at the Moffitt Cancer enter. An analytical review of the findings of previous studies conducted on participants who underwent chemotherapy showed that most of them had mild impairments in their verbal abilities like difficulty in choosing words or visou-spatial abilities like tending to get lost easily.
But the study noted that impairments were not even amongst the survivors. Some did not report of impairments while others reported severe or pervasive deficits. Lead author of the study, Heather S. l. Jim, PhD and assistant member at Moffitt whose research mainly focused on psychological and behavioral aspects of cancer survivors said that the objective of the study was to clarify existing research on cognitive functioning in those patients who received a standard dose of chemotherapy for breast cancer at least six months previously.
Co-author and senior member of Moffitt, Paul B. Jacobsen said that the analysis of the review indicated that patients previously treated with chemotherapy performed very badly in tests with respect to verbal and visuo-spatial ability as compared to patients without cancer. Jim said that breast cancer patients detected with cognitive deficits post-chemotherapy treatments should be referred to a neuro-psychologist for the evaluation and management of their deficits.
He said that management of deficits involves developing an awareness of situations which can lead to cognitive difficulties which are most likely to arise. This is essential to assist patients in coming up with strategies to compensate for the same. Jim concluded that building strategies can make a big difference in the daily lives of breast cancer survivors when difficulties in their cognitive skills do arise.