If you’ve had chemotherapy for an early stage cancer, and are experiencing problems with your memory or concentration, you may be interested in a new study for which volunteers are being sought.
Dr Janette Vardy, a medical oncologist at Sydney Cancer Centre and the University of Sydney, has sent in this report:
“We are conducting a research study evaluating a home and internet based “brain training programme” (cognitive rehabilitation programme) in cancer survivors who have noticed changes in their memory, concentration and thinking (cognition) following chemotherapy.
Purpose of the study
Research has shown that people diagnosed with cancer may report changes in their cognitive function and these changes may be made worse by some cancer treatments. Changes in cognitive function do not affect everyone but it is thought that about 15-30 percent of cancer patients experience this problem.
For some people, these changes are temporary with return to their pre-cancer functioning after completing treatment. For others, the changes are long-lasting and can interfere with everyday activities and quality of life.
Currently there is no effective treatment known to benefit cancer survivors who report cognitive impairment after chemotherapy. Cognitive rehabilitation programmes have been tested in other patient groups with encouraging results.
This study will measure the effectiveness of the “brain training” programme in improving self reported cognitive function and performance, mood, energy, quality of life and stress.
Who is conducting the study?
This study is being conducted around Australia through the Sydney Cancer Centre and the Survivorship Research Group from the Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making at the University of Sydney; Dr Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Dr Victoria Bray, Medical Oncologist, and Ms Haryana Dhillon, Behavioural Scientist, are leading this study.
Who can take part in this study?
We are looking for cancer survivors aged 18 and above who are experiencing problems with their memory, concentration, reaction time and/or thinking (cognition) after receiving chemotherapy for an early stage cancer. Chemotherapy needs to have been completed within the last 6 – 60 months.
What is involved in the study?
All study participants will take part in a telephone session where they will be given skills to help manage their cognitive difficulties. In addition, half of the participants will receive the computer programme to be practised at home for 4x forty minute sessions per week for 15 weeks (i.e. 40 hours).
Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires about their memory, mood, energy levels, quality of life and stress. They will also be asked to perform a computer cognition assessment. The questionnaires and cognition assessment will take approximately 45 minutes to complete in total and these tests will be completed on 3 occasions during the trial (i.e. at baseline, on completion of the brain training programme and 6 months following completion of the brain training programme).
The computer programme, questionnaires and cognition assessment are designed to done at home and participants will therefore require access to computer and internet facilities.”
If you are interested in receiving further information on this study, please contact:
Trial free call number: 1800 778 167
Dr Victoria Bray: 02 9767 5132
Ms Haryana Dhillon: 02 9036 5392