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Cancer patients likely to experience memory impairment: Study

August 15, 2017

All participants had a physical exam and responded to a survey, which included the question: "Are you limited in any way because of difficulty remembering or because you experience periods of confusion?"

Fourteen percent of participants who had cancer reported memory impairment compared to 8 percent of participants who did not have cancer. Those with cancer were 40 percent more likely to have memory issues than other participants ?? impairments that interfered with daily functioning.

"The findings indicate that cancer is, therefore, a key independent predictor of memory problems in the sample studied," said Jean-Pierre.

He calls the condition "cancer related cognitive dysfunction," suggesting that it goes beyond the "chemobrain" label that has been attached primarily to women treated with chemotherapy for their breast cancer who reported problems in cognitive function (e.g., attention and memory).

"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," said Jean-Pierre.

Source: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine