Asian Oncol Nurs.  2019 Sep;19(3):126-134. 10.5388/aon.2019.19.3.126.

Changes of Cognitive Function and Fatigue following Chemotherapy in Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Prospective Controlled Study

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Nursing, Sahmyook University, Seoul, South Korea. ohpj@syu.ac.kr
  • 2Surgical Department, Korea Cancer Center Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE
This study was to identify changes in cognitive function and fatigue following chemotherapy in patients with stomach or colorectal cancer.
METHODS
Of the participants, 67 underwent adjuvant chemotherapy, while 66 healthy participants made up the comparison group. Three assessment tools were used: 1) the Korean Mini-Mental State Examination; 2) Everyday Cognition; 3) Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue. The questionnaires were administered in three stages, before chemotherapy, towards the end of chemotherapy, and 6 months after the final chemotherapy session. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and repeated measures analysis of variance (RM ANOVA).
RESULTS
At the post-chemotherapy stage, 38.8% of the patients who underwent adjuvant chemotherapy complained of subjective cognitive impairment and reported greater difficulty in the cognitive domains of attention and concentration, memory, and executive function. RM ANOVA revealed a significant decline in cognitive function after chemotherapy. However, improvement was observed six months after the completion of chemotherapy (F=42.68, p< .001). Cancer-related fatigue also showed similar patterns as observed in the case of cognitive function (F=44.76, p< .001).
CONCLUSION
Chemotherapy was associated with increased cognitive decline and fatigue in cancer patients with cancer. Nursing intervention programs need to be developed to counteract cognitive decline and fatigue in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Keyword

Chemotherapy; Cognitive dysfunction; Fatigue; Longitudinal study

MeSH Terms

Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
Chronic Disease
Cognition Disorders
Cognition*
Colorectal Neoplasms
Drug Therapy*
Executive Function
Fatigue*
Gastrointestinal Neoplasms*
Healthy Volunteers
Humans
Longitudinal Studies
Memory
Nursing
Prospective Studies*
Stomach
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