University of Rochester Study Examines Cognitive Impairment of Breast Cancer Survivors After Chemotherapy

Scientists at the Wilmont Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, have found that breast cancer patients who are treated with chemotherapy can have cognitive problems that can persist for six months after therapy has been completed.

The study, led by Michelle C. Janelsins, an assistant professor at the medical center, compared the cognitive abilities of a large group of breast cancer survivors and a control group of healthy women. The mean age of both groups was 53 years old. The results showed that the breast cancer survivors had a cognitive impairment score 45 percent higher than women from the healthy group. Furthermore, over a one-year period from diagnosis to post-chemotherapy follow-up, the breast cancer group had a 36.5 percent reduction in cognitive abilities compared to a 13.6 percent drop in the control group.

“Our study, from one of the largest nationwide studies to date, shows that cancer-related cognitive problems are a substantial and pervasive issue for many women with breast cancer,” said Dr. Janelsins.

Dr. Janelsins is a graduate or Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree, a master of public health degree, and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Rochester.

The study, “Cognitive Complaints in Survivors of Breast Cancer After Chemotherapy Compared With Age-Matched Controls: An Analysis From a Nationwide, Multicenter, Prospective Longitudinal Study,” was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies


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