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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • oncology;
  • breast cancer;
  • chemotherapy;
  • subjective cognitive functioning;
  • cognitive complaints

Abstract

Background

Results of existing studies are inconclusive concerning the relationship between chemotherapy and subjective cognitive functioning (SCF). The aim of this study was to evaluate SCF of breast cancer (BC) patients and to find predictors of impaired SCF. Both satisfaction and frequency of complaints about SCF were measured.

Methods

BC patients who were about to receive chemotherapy (N = 74) and patients with a benign breast disease (BBD) (N = 63) participated. Before chemotherapy started (Time 1) and 3 months after ending chemotherapy (and at comparable moments for the BBD group) (Time 2), women completed validated questionnaires concerning the frequency of complaints and satisfaction with SCF, fatigue, perceived stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

Results

No differences were found between the BBD and BC patients concerning the frequency of complaints about SCF across time. Satisfaction with SCF decreased across time in BC patients but remained stable across time in BBD patients (p < 0.001; p = 0.003 after controlling for state anxiety and perceived stress). Correlation coefficients between the satisfaction and the frequency of complaints about SCF ranged between −0.26 and −0.49. Depressive symptoms and satisfaction with SCF (Time 1) predicted the frequency of complaints about SCF (Time 2). Diagnosis, frequency of complaints about SCF, and state anxiety (Time 1) predicted satisfaction with SCF (Time 2).

Conclusions

BC patients do not differ in the frequency of complaints about SCF compared with BBD patients, but their satisfaction with SCF decreased after treatment. Psychological factors predicted the frequency of complaints about SCF. Psychological factors and diagnosis predicted satisfaction with SCF.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.