BACKGROUND: Women with breast cancer (BC) report cognitive impairment. Receiving a BC diagnosis may have a negative psychological impact. We sought to determine whether a diagnosis of BC and subsequent surgical treatment reduced cognitive function.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We recruited women, who had a positive radiographic finding, consecutively from the mammography screening program at Stockholm South General Hospital. All subjects completed the Headminder Web-based neuropsychological battery Cognitive Stability Index (CSI) for response speed, processing speed, memory, and attention at enrolment (T1, Baseline). CSI was administered again, after BC was ruled out, or after sector resection or mastectomy, if BC was confirmed by cytology or biopsy (T2, Retest).
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Of the 148 women approached, 146 were enrolled; 69 were healthy and 77 had BC. Comparison between groups at baseline, according to independent t-test, showed significant differences in response speed and processing speed. Cognitive abilities did not decline in either group on any of the measured domains. Our results suggest that a diagnosis of BC and subsequent surgery is not associated with substantial cognitive decline at retest. However, the lack of improvement in attention at retest among BC patients may be suggestive of a decline.
2011. Vol. 50, no 7