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Chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction and effects on quality of life in gynecologic cancer patients.



chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction (CRCD) is a growing problem due to rising cancer rates and increasing numbers of cancer survivors. upwards of 70% of ovarian cancer patients report cognitive-changes following treatment for their cancer.

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the underlying mechanisms of CRCD are a subject of active research and debate. the initial insult may start with the diagnosis of cancer itself, both in the number of peripheral cytokines it produces but also in the psychological changes caused by stress and anxiety associated with the diagnosis. chemotherapy, in its ability to alter dna in the replication cycle, has been shown to damage neurons and their stem cell precursors.

Expert commentary

based on proposed mechanisms and advancements in other neuropsychological diseases, various pharmacologic and behavioral interventions have been demonstrated to show improvements in patient's quality of life and in their perceived cognitive abilities and memory. further research is necessary to be able to determine when and how these cognitive changes occur, and if their multiple potential biological underpinnings can synergize toward deleterious cognitive effects. future therapies will include prevention strategies to avert CRCD's effects on patients.

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