Cognitive effects of chemotherapy: an integrative review

Article


Shaw, Carli, Baldwin, Adele and Anderson, Carina. 2021. "Cognitive effects of chemotherapy: an integrative review." European Journal of Oncology Nursing (EJON). 54 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2021.102042
Article Title

Cognitive effects of chemotherapy: an integrative review

ERA Journal ID30443
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsShaw, Carli (Author), Baldwin, Adele (Author) and Anderson, Carina (Author)
Journal TitleEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing (EJON)
Journal Citation54 (2021)
Article Number102042
Number of Pages15
Year2021
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1462-3889
1532-2122
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2021.102042
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462388921001484
Abstract

Purpose: An estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) were diagnosed worldwide in 2020. Despite a rising incidence of cancers worldwide, in developed countries with strong healthcare systems, survival rates are improving as a result of early detection, improved treatments and survivorship care (World Health Organisation (WHO), 2021). Whilst living longer, cancer survivors are often living with side effects of treatment, including chemotherapy related cognitive impairment, often termed 'chemobrain'.

Method: An integrative review of contemporary literature answering the research question how does chemotherapy affect cognitive function? was undertaken utilising three computerised databases CINAHL, Medline and PUBMED, between 2015 and 2021. Data was thematically analysed to identify themes within published literature.

Results: Thematic analysis identified four broad themes within the literature regarding chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment. Identified themes included; cognition as part of a complex scenario, proof of existence and searching for the cause, learning to play the game and timing of cognitive impairment.

Conclusions: Aggressive treatment with chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting has drastically improved the survival of cancer patients. Subsequent to aggressive treatments, side effects such as cognitive impairment have presented, which may persist in the long term. Despite the exact aetiology of chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment being largely unknown, the consequences of the condition are impacting cancer survivors and their quality of life.

Keywordscancer survivor; chemobrain; chemotherapy; cognition; integrative review; quality of life
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420503. Community and primary care
420501. Acute care
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsCentral Queensland University
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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