Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemobrain: The Flip Side Of Surviving Cancer

Date:
September 18, 2009
Source:
Springer
Summary:
Breast cancer survivors tell their story in a descriptive study of the effects that cognitive impairment has on women's work, social networks and dealings with the health care profession.

One of the most problematic side effects of cancer treatment, chemobrain -- a range of symptoms including memory loss, inability to concentrate, difficulty thinking and other subtle cognitive changes following chemotherapy -- seriously diminishes women's quality of life and daily functioning. As a result, they have to adopt a range of coping strategies to manage their restricted social and professional lives.

Related Articles


Breast cancer survivors tell their story in a descriptive study of the effects that cognitive impairment has on women's work, social networks and dealings with the health care profession. Dr. Saskia Subramanian from the UCLA Center for Culture and Health in the US and her colleagues have just published their work online in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

An increasing number of women survive breast cancer, yet survival comes at a price. Mild cognitive impairment following chemotherapy, known as "chemobrain" or "chemofog" is one of the most commonly reported post-treatment symptoms by breast cancer survivors. Dr. Subramanian and colleagues' work shows that this deterioration in brain function has devastating effects on breast cancer survivors' quality of life.

Through a combination of focus groups and in-depth interviews among 74 women who had completed their course of cancer treatment at least a year earlier, the researchers gathered data on patients' medical background, treatment experience, post-treatment symptoms, reactions from medical staff and from family and friends, self-management, strength of social networks and their perceptions of themselves.

The women described a variety of cognitive changes which they found both frustrating and upsetting. Some were less able to retain material or to digest new information and recognized that they were not functioning as they once did. Others faced reduced independence, becoming limited in their ability to manage certain responsibilities or get around. These changes made women feel scared, dependent and emotionally drained. For some, coping meant having to cut back on work and social activities. Others had more or less accepted the limitations put on their lives and resigned themselves to a diminished cognitive capacity.

The majority of women complained about the lack of acknowledgement from the medical community when they mentioned their chemobrain symptoms. Many women wished they had received some warning and only a few got answers from their physicians. Some women felt that chemobrain confused their families and friends, and young children in particular.

Chemobrain also affected women's performance at work. Because they were less able to focus, duties became more difficult and often took longer. This affected their efficiency and reduced their chances of promotion or assignment to projects.

The authors conclude: "These data underscore the very serious ways in which chemobrain can affect the life experiences of cancer survivors - emotionally, psychologically and economically. A clear understanding of the cognitive impairments experienced by survivors will aid researchers in developing targeted therapies and interventions aimed at improving or mitigating these post-treatment side effects."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Boykoff N, Moieni M, Subramanian S. Confronting chemobrain: an in-depth look at survivors’ reports of impact on work, social networks, and health care response. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 2009; DOI: 10.1007/s11764-009-0098-x

Cite This Page:

Springer. "Chemobrain: The Flip Side Of Surviving Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090917111518.htm>.
Springer. (2009, September 18). Chemobrain: The Flip Side Of Surviving Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090917111518.htm
Springer. "Chemobrain: The Flip Side Of Surviving Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090917111518.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins