AACR: Memory Problems May Plague Cancer Survivors

40 percent more likely to report memory problems severe enough to affect daily functioning
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors are more likely than those with no cancer history to experience memory problems that thwart daily activities, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 in Miami.

Michael Antoni, Ph.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed data from a sample of 9,819 respondents to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine the prevalence of memory impairment in cancer and non-cancer populations.

The researchers found that memory problems were reported more often by the 1,305 respondents who had cancer or a history of cancer than by those who did not, at 14 and 8 percent, respectively. Cancer history was also independently associated with memory impairment (odds ratio, 1.5). Those with cancer were 40 percent more likely to have memory problems severe enough to interfere with daily functioning.

"These memory issues can be related to treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapies, or to the tumor biology itself, which could change brain chemistry and neurobehavioral function," a co-author of the research said in a statement.

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