Effects of chemotherapy on patients’ cognitive function
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Effects of chemotherapy on patients’ cognitive function

Lynn Ellen Summers PhD student, University of Texas at Tyler, US

Lynn Ellen Summers outlines the findings of a literature review about problems experienced by people who have undergone treatment for colorectal cancer

Chemotherapy-related cognitive deficits in adult patients with colorectal cancer, also referred to informally as ‘chemobrain’ or ‘chemo-fog’, have not been widely studied. The phenomenon, however, has been researched in breast cancer survivors since the late 1990s with differing conclusions. The questions proposed are not solely whether cognitive impairment occurs, but how cancer patients perceive that their cognitive abilities have been affected. If there is any change in cognitive abilities, actual or perceived, then the question as to whether those changes affect patients’ quality of life becomes important. There is also the question of the effect in other types of malignancy such as colorectal cancer. The literature review reported in this article investigated the available research findings in relation to cognitive function when patients have been treated with chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. It found subtle cognitive impairment related to chemotherapy, but further research is needed so that interventions can be developed to help patients to cope.

Cancer Nursing Practice. 11, 8, 27-31. doi: 10.7748/cnp2012.



Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

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