Navigation Links
'Chemo Brain' May Linger 20 Years After Breast Cancer Treatment
Date:2/28/2012

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- "Chemo brain," the name given to the mental fog and related memory problems that can occur during and after chemotherapy, may last for two decades after breast cancer treatment, new research suggests.

In the new study, 196 women with breast cancer who were treated with chemotherapy roughly 21 years earlier performed worse on tests of their memory, processing speed and other thinking ("cognitive") skills when compared to their counterparts who had never been diagnosed with cancer.

Participants had all been treated for breast cancer with a chemotherapy combination that included the drugs cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil between 1976 and 1995. This regimen was considered the standard of care for breast cancer worldwide from the 1970s to the 1990s and was received by thousands of women during this time. Women in the study were aged 50 to 80.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to suggest that subtle cognitive deficits may be among the long-term effects of chemotherapy, especially of the earlier regimens," study author Sanne Schagen, a group leader at the department of psychosocial research and epidemiology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam, said in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

She added that while the results don't suggest that breast cancer survivors need to be watched more closely for memory and thinking problems, they could guide referrals to support services as needed.

In general, women who received this chemotherapy regimen had lower scores on tests of their ability to recall words, information-processing speed, and coordination of thinking and hand movement, such as putting pegs in a board, than women who did not. The results on these tests were similar to those seen among people who had just completed chemotherapy, and their magnitude was comparable to roughly six years of age-related decline in mental function, the study authors noted.

The researchers also assessed the women for depression and self-reported memory problems as part of the study. The women who had received chemotherapy also had more memory complaints than their peers who did not have chemo, but these complaints were not related to how they performed on memory tests.

The study findings were published online Feb. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Tim Ahles, the director of the Neurocognitive Research Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said this new study is the first to illustrate that long-term breast cancer survivors are still experiencing difficulty with their thought processes. "It adds to the notion that these effects may be long term and permanent," he said.

The effects of so-called chemo brain vary from person to person, and not all people who receive chemotherapy will develop or be affected by these issues.

"If someone is a professional who has an extremely demanding job, even a small change may be problematic, whereas for someone who is retired and has a more relaxed lifestyle, it may be less of a problem," Ahles said. "For women who are newly diagnosed and looking at treatments, it is still important to know that not everyone experiences these deficits."

In terms of prevention and treatment, there are more questions than answers right now. "This is an active area of research, and now that we have identified this is a real problem, people are turning their attention to what we can do to help treat and reduce some of the negative impact," Ahles noted.

Dr. Marisa Weiss, president and founder of Breastcancer.org and director of breast radiation oncology and breast health outreach at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pa., said the new study "shows only a few pieces of this complex puzzle."

She said it wasn't clear whether subtle losses in mental function were due to cancer alone, the effects of other therapies such as anti-estrogen treatments, or other factors.

Although the study uncovered an association between the cancer treatment and memory problems in the study patients, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

"There were many differences between these two groups," Weiss said, including whether or not they underwent the specific chemotherapy regimen. "We still need to fill in the other puzzle pieces before we can see what the picture is going to look like."

Dr. Stefan Gluck, a professor in the department of medicine and assistant director of the University of Miami/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that the new findings confirm this is not a temporary problem. "It may be the combination of drugs used 20 years ago were more likely to cause these issues," he said. "Today's drugs may be less likely to cause long-term cognitive effects."

He also added that drugs taken by many breast cancer survivors to stave off a breast cancer recurrence after treatment may also contribute to chemo brain.

More information

Learn more about coping with chemotherapy side effects from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Tim Ahles, Ph.D., director, Neurocognitive Research Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Stefan Gluck, M.D., professor, department of medicine and assistant director, University of Miami/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; Marisa Weiss, president and founder, Breastcancer.org and director, breast radiation oncology and breast health outreach, Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, Pa.; Feb. 27, 2012, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New developments in nanotechnology tackle the 2 biggest problems associated with chemotherapy
2. Roche/Genentech/Chugais Herceptin as an Add-On to Standard Chemotherapy Will Become Decision Resources Clinical Gold Standard in 2013 for the Treatment Of Gastric Cancer
3. Scientists identify microRNA as possible cause of chemotherapy resistance
4. Study evaluates costs and benefits of new chemotherapy drugs
5. Older Colon Cancer Patients Less Likely to Get Chemo
6. Are New Chemo Treatments Cost-Effective?
7. BioSphere Medical's HepaSphere Microspheres Safely Deliver Doxorubicin in Liver Cancer Chemoembolization Therapy -- Study Presented at SIR
8. Researchers find new chemotherapy combination shows promise in endometrial cancer
9. Chemotherapy plus synthetic compound provides potent anti-tumor effect in pancreatic cancers
10. Recommended Dental Care for Chemotherapy Patients -- Advice from Steven McConnell, DDS
11. Chemo May Boost Survival After Lung Cancer Surgery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Chemo Brain' May Linger 20 Years After Breast Cancer Treatment
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Healthful Balance announces ... company, owned and operated by Ed Stroup, was created to offer the highest ... highest level of customer service. Healthful Balance products can be purchased online through ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... well as Palm Desert, is opening a new office in San Clemente, California ... magnetic stimulation (dTMS) in Southern California, successfully treating individuals struggling with major depression. ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... A prescription medication ... of the fourth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge , the Cradle ... a series of six circular design challenges scheduled to run through early 2018. The ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Livionex, Inc., a Silicon Valley healthcare company ... clinical study for its dental gel that shows significant reduction in plaque levels and ... triclosan. The study was conducted at the Beckman Laser Institute at UC Irvine and ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... Many people make New Year’s resolutions or renew ... Mondavi is making it easier for people who want to kick off 2017 with ... and existing patients. , These special offers include: , , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 Secretary of Health ... Programs Secretary Gary Tennis are warning Pennsylvanians ... two recent overdose deaths from the drug in ... is intended to sedate large animals and is not ... who comes into contact with it," Secretary Murphy said. ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 The interventional radiology ... by 2021 from USD 6.35 billion in 2016, at ... the growth of this market are rising incidence of ... minimally invasive surgeries. The global interventional radiology ... and region. On the basis of type, the stents ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 17, 2017  Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. ... medical marijuana growers/processors and dispensaries are now available ... . Permit applications will be accepted from February ... is an important step forward in getting this ... Secretary Murphy said. "We,ve developed a thorough application ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: