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Neuropsychological test performance linked to cognitive complaints after breast cancer


Approximately one out of five breast cancer patients treated for breast cancer had elevated memory and/or executive function complaints that were statistically significantly associated with domain-specific neuropsychological ( NP ) test performances and depressive symptoms.
Combined chemotherapy and radiation treatment in these patients was also associated with memory complaints,

Cognitive complaints have been frequently reported following breast cancer treatments, however, their connection with neuropsychological ( NP ) test performance has not been well established.

In order to determine the relationship between cognitive complaints and neurocognitive testing, Patricia A. Ganz, at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and colleagues, looked at early-stage post treatment breast cancer patients who were enrolled in a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study before they started receiving endocrine therapy and evaluated them using an NP test battery and questionnaires that were self-reported, which gauged their symptoms, including cognitive complaints.

The researchers found that of the 189-breast cancer patients evaluated, 23.3% had higher memory complaints and 19% reported higher executive function complaints than found in age-matched healthy women without breast cancer.

They also found that higher memory complaints were statistically significantly associated with combined chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and not chemotherapy alone.

The findings add further support for the value of patient-reported outcomes as a central measurement in evaluation of cancer treatment-related morbidities.

In an accompanying editorial, Christina A. Meyers, at Anderson Cancer Center, writes that the studies that use subject data can obscure individual differences and may underestimate the true incidences of cognitive symptoms in breast cancer patients and feels that, ‘ many cancer survivors can enjoy improved levels of functioning if properly diagnosed and provided with the right support. ‘ ( Xagena )

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2013

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