Intervention Improves Breast Cancer Survivors' Memory Contentment

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Neurocognitive deficits are fairly common in patients receiving associated treatments such as chemotherapy.
Neurocognitive deficits are fairly common in patients receiving associated treatments such as chemotherapy.

According to findings published in Supportive Care in Cancer, survivors of breast cancer who report experiencing cancer-related cognitive dysfunction (CRCD) experience durable improvements to their memory even after just a single 1-hour psychoeducational intervention.

Studies have shown that nearly one-third of patients with breast cancer who undergo associated treatments (eg, chemotherapy) experience objective neurocognitive deficits in memory, processing, executive functioning, and attention. Despite the prevalence of CRCD, there remains a need for more effective rehabilitative interventions.

For this prospective study, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a 1-hour, face-to-face individual psychoeducational intervention conducted with 100 breast cancer survivors at the study center. The intervention is designed to provide knowledge, confidence, and promote self-management of CRCD. Patients were given questionnaires to assess cognitive function immediately before (T1), immediately after (T2), and 6 weeks after (T3) the intervention.

Results showed that patients had improvements in memory contentment — a measurement of a person's satisfaction with their memory ability based on normative comparisons — at T2 and T3.

Patients who underwent the intervention also showed improvement in knowledge of CRCD, self-management of cognitive symptoms, and symptom distress.

The study shows that breast cancer survivors with CRCD can improve cognitive symptoms and memory functioning after even 1 brief intervention. The authors concluded that “further investigation using a randomized controlled study design is warranted.” 

Reference

Bernstein LJ, McCreath GA, Nyhof-Young J, Dissanayake D, Rich JB. A brief psychoeducation intervention improves memory contentment in breast cancer survivors with cognitive concerns: results of a single-arm prospective study [published online March 10, 2018]. Support Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4135-z
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