Lynn Summers


Cancer treatment-related cognitive deficits and the associated effects on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are national concerns particularly as the number of cancer survivors continues to grow. A literature review of the effects of chemotherapy on colorectal cancer survivors revealed little research in this population. The purposes of the study were to compare cognition between survivors treated with surgery/chemotherapy with those treated with only surgery, compare self-report measures with objective testing for cognition, and ascertain the effects of demographics on cognition and HRQOL. A cross-sectional, exploratory design, guided by Myers' Revised Conceptual Model of Chemotherapy-Related Changes in Cognitive Function, was used to assess the effect of cancer treatments on objective and subjective cognition in 29 cancer survivors. Using an independent t-test, no significant differences in cognition were noted between those receiving chemotherapy and those who did not. No significant correlation between objective and subjective measures of cognition was noted. Depression predicted subjective cognition (p < .001). Fatigue was a significant predictors of HRQOL (p < .001). These results indicate objective testing of cognition may not be sensitive enough to capture the deficits survivors suffer. A follow-up study of attitudes toward participation in cognition research revealed themes of altruism, concern related to cognitive deficits, and avoidance of the negative. Findings suggest that researchers appeal to potential participants' willingness to help others. Health care providers have a responsibility to fully inform patients, monitor for side effects, and develop interventions to improve HRQOL.

Date of publication

Fall 12-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation (Local Only Access)



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