Cognitive-behavioral management of chemotherapy-related cognitive change
Adjuvant chemotherapy can produce mild cognitive decline among breast cancer survivors which adversely effects function and quality of life. However, no treatment to date has been proposed or developed for this problem despite large numbers of cancer patients who report post-treatment memory dysfunction. This paper presents data from a single arm pilot study of a brief cognitive-behavioral treatment aimed at helping breast cancer survivors manage cognitive dysfunction associated with adjuvant chemotherapy (Memory and Attention Adaptation Training; MAAT). Participants were twenty-nine women who were an average of 8 years post-chemotherapy for stage I and II breast cancer. All had reported complaints regarding memory and attention. Improvements in self-report of cognitive function, quality of life and standard neuropsychological test performance were observed at post-treatment, 2-month and 6-month follow-up. Participants also reported high treatment satisfaction and rated MAAT as helpful in improving ability to compensate for memory problems. Given these results, the treatment appears to be a feasible and practical cognitive-behavioral program that warrants continued evaluation among cancer survivors who experience persistent cognitive dysfunction.