Neuropsychological functioning and quality of life during the first year after completing chemotherapy for breast cancer
Article first published online: 26 MAY 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 19, Issue 5, pages 535–544, May 2010
How to Cite
Reid-Arndt, S. A., Hsieh, C. and Perry, M. C. (2010), Neuropsychological functioning and quality of life during the first year after completing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 19: 535–544. doi: 10.1002/pon.1581
- Issue published online: 14 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 26 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Received: 4 MAR 2009
- cognitive function;
- quality of life;
- neuropsychological tests;
Objective: Research has documented modest cognitive difficulties among women treated for breast cancer. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of these subtle cognitive changes on quality of life after treatment.
Methods: Data are presented from women breast cancer patients who completed neuropsychological tests and questionnaires regarding quality of life 6 and 12 months post-chemotherapy (n's=39 and 33). Neuropsychological test scores were examined for evidence of cognitive difficulties at each time point; repeated measures ANOVAs were used to identify changes over time. Regression analyses assessed relationships of quality of life outcomes with cognitive functioning, social support seeking, and fatigue.
Results: Small percentages of participants (<20% across tests) evidenced deficits in delayed memory, processing speed, response inhibition, and verbal fluency (VF) at each time point. Reliable change index analyses suggested statistically reliable improvements in each cognitive domain for a modest portion of participants. Regressions revealed hesitation to seek social support and fatigue as the most consistent predictors of quality of life at 6 and 12 months post-chemotherapy. Cognitive complaints and VF difficulties were also significantly related to quality of life at 12 months.
Conclusions: In addition to confirming the importance of fatigue and social support in quality of life, these data offer preliminary indications that weaker VF skills and self-reported cognitive complaints may be associated with poorer functional outcomes among cancer survivors. Further research is needed to validate these potential relationships, which suggest that cognitive difficulties among cancer survivors may warrant monitoring and possible intervention. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.