Von Ah, D., Carpenter, J.S., Saykin, A., Monahan, P., Wu, J., Yu, M., . . . Unverzagt, F. (2012). Advanced cognitive training for breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 135, 799–809.10.1007/s10549-012-2210-6
To evaluate the efficacy of memory and speed of processing training for improving cognitive function in breast cancer survivors
Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: training in speed of processing, memory training, or a wait list control group. The intervention included 10 one-hour sessions of memory and speed of processing training delivered in small groups of three to five patients over six to eight weeks. Specific intervention strategies were adapted from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trials. Follow-up was done at two months.
Patients were in the late effects and survivorship phases of care.
Single-blind, three-group randomized controlled trial
The memory training group demonstrated better immediate (d = 0.59, p = 0.036) and delayed memory performance (d = 0.70, p = 0.013) at the two-month follow-up compared to the control group. Those trained in speed of processing improved immediate memory post-intervention (d = 0.75) and at the two-month follow-up (d = 0.82) (p < 0.01). The memory and speed of processing training groups had significant improvement in perceived cognitive functioning on questionnaires. Compared to controls, speed of processing training was associated with lower symptom distress. Memory training also had a positive effect on anxiety at the two-month follow-up (p = 0.017)
Memory and speed of processing training had significant positive effects on objectively measured and perceived cognitive function among female breast cancer survivors.
Cognitive training as provided here had a significant and at least a moderate positive effect on cognitive function in breast cancer survivors. Cognitive deficits with cancer treatment have substantial negative impacts on quality of life and functioning. Cognitive training is a promising intervention to address these problems.