Chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction in breast cancer

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2003 Nov;19(4 Suppl 2):17-24. doi: 10.1053/j.soncn.2003.09.002.


Objectives: To provide an overview of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction in breast cancer survivors, focusing on its pathophysiology, risk factors, assessment, and management.

Data sources: Published biomedical literature.

Conclusion: Chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction in patients with breast cancer is multifactorial and possibly related to anemia or a direct effect of chemotherapy on brain function. Clinical observation and subjective reports are useful assessments. Therapies directed at alleviating or preventing cognitive deficits are being investigated.

Implications for nursing practice: Oncology nurses are important in monitoring cognitive function in patients with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy. Nurses who are aware of the risks, assessment, and management of cognitive impairment are better able to discuss these issues with patients and caregivers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cognition Disorders / nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Oncology Nursing / standards
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Quality of Life*