Neuropsychological profiles of breast cancer and brain tumor cohorts in Northeast Ontario, Canada
As developments in cancer treatment have improved outcomes, research has increasingly focused on the role of cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI) in quality of life for cancer survivors. Impairment profiles have been heterogeneous across studies, necessitating the study of these effects across different cohorts. The purpose of this preliminary study is to compare the memory profiles of Northeast Ontario breast and CNS cancer patients, as there is no literature which exists for profiling CRCI within this largely rural region.
Sixty-three outpatients with breast cancer (n = 32) or CNS tumors (n = 30) at the Northeast Cancer Centre in Sudbury, Canada, were administered a neuropsychological test battery as part of their clinical examination. Domains measured within this study included attention and concentration, processing speed, motor function, language skills, verbal and visual memory, and executive functioning.
Participants with brain tumors scored poorer on most neuropsychological measures than participants with breast cancer. Initial verbal memory for individuals with breast cancer was lower than delayed recall and recognition trials. Trial 1 performance for this group was also negatively correlated with self-reported anxiety scores.
Consistent with the literature, participants with breast cancer obtained higher scores on most test measures than participants with CNC tumors. Breast cancer participants had lower verbal memory scores on initial trials compared to delayed recall, potentially due to relationships with anxiety and attention. Further research into this cohort will strive to gain greater understanding of the patterns of deficits experienced and how these may inform individuals with cancer in other regions.
KeywordsCancer Neuropsychology Cognition Memory Brain tumor Breast cancer
We would like to acknowledge Trevor Carniello, Jessica Diplock, Katherine George and Meghan Grey for their input and recommendations pertaining to the paper. We would also like to acknowledge the Supportive Care Oncology Research Unit of the Northeast Cancer Centre, Health Sciences North for resources and support.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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