Memory Deficits Associated With the Use of Breast Cancer Chemo Drugs

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Many women across the globe are affected by breast cancer, and several women are still left undiagnosed. Women who have breast cancer are recommended by their doctors to engage in certain treatment modalities which can help save their lives. These treatments include: radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy. Treatments of breast cancer have been proven scientifically to kill cancer cells; however, this has several side effects which can really give great deal of discomforts among women who submit themselves for treatment. One of which is breast cancer chemotherapy. It was found out that the use of breast cancer chemo drugs is tied up with the increased risk of developing memory problems.

Chemotherapy is part of a long list of treatment modalities which are recommended for individuals who have cancer. This involves the use of several potent drugs which can kill cancer cells and kill as well those healthy cells. The patient underwent series of chemotherapy which is about several cycles before the doctor can reassess the patient and rule out cancer. However, chemotherapy has some side effects which are not really likely among those individuals who submit themselves for the treatment. This includes: nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and immunosuppression.

The new study appears in the issue of the Archives of Neurology.  The study tackles about memory problems are associated with the use of chemotherapy among individuals who have breast cancer. According to the results of the study, certain areas in the brain which are actually implicated for the planning, memory performance and attention were found out to be less healthy among individuals who have breast cancer and had submit themselves for chemotherapy treatment.

The new study involves examination of data gathered from about 62 women who acted as the study participants. 25 of them were diagnosed to have breast cancer and were treated with chemotherapy treatment, about 19 were also diagnosed with breast cancer but did not undergone chemotherapy, and about 18 of them were women who do not have the disease. The study participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the researchers examined and compared the results. Also, these women were asked to do certain card-sorting task in order to assess their problem solving skills. They were also asked to report their own perception about their cognitive abilities.

Researchers found out that the study participants had reduced brain activity in two areas of prefrontal cortex whether these women underwent chemotherapy treatment or not. However, according to study lead author Shelli Kesler: “The non-chemo group did show some brain changes but their actual performance of cognitive tasks was not impaired,” also “For women who had chemo, their deficit, their brain change is more severe to the point where they are showing actual performance impairment on cognitive tests.”




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