Study shows chemotherapy can affect the brain decades later
Feb 28, 2012
A new study conducted by researchers from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, found that women who are treated with certain types of chemotherapy suffer from cognitive problems decades after the treatment.
The researchers studied 196 women who had received cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) chemotherapy approximately 21 years ago, and compared them with more than 1,500 women with no history of cancer. They discovered those who underwent CMF scored significantly less on cognitive tests than the control group.
"Survivors of breast cancer treated with adjuvant CMF chemotherapy more than 20 years ago perform worse, on average, than random population controls on neuropsychological tests," said lead researcher Vincent Koppelmans. "The pattern of cognitive problems is largely similar to that observed in patients shortly after cessation of chemotherapy."
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women, following only lung cancer. However, the death rate has been decreasing since 1990 due to advancements in research and breakthrough breast cancer news. There are currently 2.5 million survivors in the United States.