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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2001 May;21(5):407-24.

Cognitive function and reproductive hormones in adjuvant therapy for breast cancer: a critical review.

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School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Deterioration in cognitive function-particularly learning, memory, and attention-has been reported by women with breast cancer who receive adjuvant chemotherapy. Deficits in cognitive function reported by women with breast cancer are similar to those experienced by women as a consequence of natural or surgical menopause. The basis of these deteriorations may include reductions in reproductive hormone levels, particularly estrogens and progesterones, that occur as a result of adjuvant chemotherapy. This paper critically examines the literature related to the impact of adjuvant chemotherapy and reproductive hormone changes on cognitive function in women with breast cancer and suggests direction for future research in this area. The paper proposes a framework for investigation of the problem and discusses the challenges associated with the conduct of this research.

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