A GP guide to cancer-related cognitive impairment
Patients who’ve been treated for cancer often report experiencing problems with memory, thinking and executive function.
Need to know:
- Up to a third of people diagnosed with cancer experience persistent cancer-related cognitive impairment.
- Cancer-related cognitive impairment typically affects memory, concentration, decision-making and general clarity of thought.
- The magnitude of impairment is usually mild to moderate, and often improves over time.
- Even mild cancer-related cognitive impairment can have a profound impact on patients’ daily function and sense of self.
- Patients may benefit from validation, reassurance and assistance with managing symptoms.
- Cognitive-based therapies and physical activity have the best evidence for assisting cancer-related cognitive impairment.
- Addressing associated comorbidities such as depression, fatigue and insomnia may be useful.
- Referral to and collaboration with other health professionals may be beneficial, including a psychologist, neuropsychologist, occupational