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breast cancer, chemobrain, chemotherapy, cognitive deficits, hormonal therapy, neuropsychological performance



  1. Frank, Jennifer Sandson
  2. Vance, David E.
  3. Triebel, Kristen L.
  4. Meneses, Karen M.


ABSTRACT: Adjuvant treatments, specifically chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, have dramatically increased breast cancer survival, resulting in increased attention to the residual effects of treatment. Breast cancer survivors (BCS) frequently report that cognitive deficits are a particular source of distress, interfering with many aspects of quality of life. The literature on neuropsychological performance measures in BCS supports the reality of subtle cognitive deficits after both chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. This premise is supported by recent imaging studies, which reveal anatomical changes after chemotherapy as well as changes in patterns of neural activation while performing cognitive tasks. This review suggests that, even when performance on neuropsychological performance measures is within normal limits, BCS may be using increased cognitive resources in the face of reduced cognitive reserve. Potential interventions for cognitive deficits after adjuvant therapy include prescriptions for healthy living, pharmacotherapy, complementary therapy, and cognitive remediation therapy directed toward specific cognitive deficits or a combination of several strategies.