During the study, Reid-Arndt, and her colleague, Michael Perry, a professor in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology in the MU School of Medicine, studied women who had been treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer. The researchers tested the women three times during the year following their chemotherapy treatments. The scientists evaluated neuropsychological functioning, self-reported cognitive difficulties, fatigue, the amount of social support they sought, depression, and the quality of life experienced by the breast cancer survivors.
While some of the findings affirmed older research, such as how fatigue and a lack of social support are important predictors for poor quality of life, Reid-Arndt identified two measures of daily cognitive functioning that seemed to affect quality of life. Verbal fluency, such as the ability to recall certain words when necessary, and self-reports of problems with memory concentration were indicators of poor daily functioning and poor quality of life among patients.
"It was a small, but significant percentage of breast cancer survivors that were reporting these problems in the study," Reid-Arndt said. "The daily difficulties related to these problems tend to be mild, but these findings tell us that these women are experiencing cognitive problems that may be a source of stress."
Over the length of the study, Reid-Arndt and Perry did see improved cognitive functioning in each of the areas assessed. In her next study, Reid-Arndt hopes to identify specific interventions that could benefit patients experiencing these challenges. Some of those interventions might include the use of pharmaceuticals or cognitive behavior techniques
|Contact: Christian Basi|
University of Missouri-Columbia