Saturday, January 7, 2017

Breast cancer patients 45% more impaired

Largest study to date of the condition validates women's 'chemo-brain' discomfort 

Women who've had read cancer know about the dread and discomfort of 'chemo-brain' first-hand.

But now, the largest study of it conducted so far proves that the condition — which includes impairments in memory, paying attention and processing information — can be a major problem for up to six months after chemotherapy.

Michelle C. Janelsins, Ph.D.
According to investigators at the University of Rochester's Wilmot Cancer Institute, led by Michelle C. Janelsins, Ph.D., 581 breast cancer patients treated at sites across the United States were compared to 384 healthy patients.

The women with breast cancer exhibited 45 percent more impairment, ScienceDaily reported this week.

Is chemotherapy the only cause of the condition?


The story indicates some impact may have stemmed from heightened anxiety and depressive symptoms from the onset (diagnosis and pre-chemo), being of a younger age and being a member of the black race.

Regardless, the LiveBetterWithCancer website has suggested a much longer influence for chemotherapy. 

Last fall it published a piece saying a study of mice had indicated that the animals' cognitive impairment could equate to 10 years in humans and "have a long lasting impact on the quality of life of cancer survivors."

The site noted that 'chemo brain' might translate into confusion, difficulty multi-tasking, finishing sentences, finding the right words or learning new skills. 

Personal details of my wife's chemo-brain can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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