Cognitive performance and psychological distress in breast cancer patients at disease onset

  • Objective: Many cancer patients complain about cognitive dysfunction. While cognitive deficits have been attributed to the side effects of chemotherapy, there is evidence for impairment at disease onset, prior to cancer-directed therapy. Further debated issues concern the relationship between self-reported complaints and objective test performance and the role of psychological distress. Method: We assessed performance on neuropsychological tests of attention and memory and obtained estimates of subjective distress and quality of life in 27 breast cancer patients and 20 healthy controls. Testing in patients took place shortly after the initial diagnosis, but prior to subsequent therapy. Results: While patients showed elevated distress, cognitive performance differed on a few subtests only. Patients showed slower processing speed and poorer verbal memory than controls. Objective and self-reported cognitive function were unrelated, and psychological distress correlated more strongly with subjective complaints than with neuropsychological test performance. Conclusion: This study provides further evidence of limited cognitive deficits in cancer patients prior to the onset of adjuvant therapy. Self-reported cognitive deficits seem more closely related to psychological distress than to objective test performance.

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Author:Jochen KaiserORCiDGND, Jörg Dietrich, Miena Amiri, Isa Rüschel, Hazal Akbaba, Nonda Hantke, Klaus Konrad Fließbach, Bianca SenfORCiDGND, Christine SolbachORCiDGND, Christoph BledowskiORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Daniela Smirni
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Date of first Publication:2019/11/15
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/01/13
Tag:attention; breast cancer; cognitive functions; memory; psychological distress
Issue:Art. 2584
Page Number:9
First Page:1
Last Page:9
Copyright © 2019 Kaiser, Dietrich, Amiri, Rüschel, Akbaba, Hantke, Fliessbach, Senf, Solbach and Bledowski. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0