Cognitive Limitations


Amongst some of the more common and distressing symptoms faced by individuals with cancer is that of neurocognitive dysfunction. While neurocognitive symptoms often herald the diagnosis when cancer directly affects the brain, survivors with systemic malignancies (e.g., breast cancer, lung cancer, leukemia) have also been found to have neurocognitive impairments, even prior to the initiation of treatment [1–4]. Additionally, oncologic successes are often dependent on a multimodal, aggressive treatment approach that frequently combines surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy. The central nervous system may be vulnerable to these antineoplastic treatments, leading to a worsening of neurocognitive symptoms and/or emergence of new symptoms during and following treatment. Further, cancer survivors may be susceptible to neurocognitive symptoms as a side effect of medications commonly prescribed to manage concurrent medical complications (e.g., corticosteroids, antiepileptics, immuosuppressive agents, antiemetics, and opioid narcotics) or secondary to co-existing neurologic conditions unrelated to the diagnosis of cancer [3, 4].


Cancer Survivor Cognitive Symptom Neurocognitive Impairment Neuropsychological Evaluation Neurocognitive Dysfunction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuro-Oncology, Unit 431University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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