The Impact of Chemotherapy-Related Cognitive Impairment on Social Roles and Well-Being in Breast Cancer Survivors

Lisa R. Bailey

Melissa Craft

Shannon S.C. Bert

Barbara W. Carlson

breast cancer, chemotherapy, aging, cognition, social roles
ONF 2024, 51(2), 153-162. DOI: 10.1188/24.ONF.153-162

Purpose: To explore the impact of disruptions in information processing (DIPs) on social roles, well-being, and quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer survivors after chemotherapy.

Participants & Setting: Experiences of DIPs were explored in eight breast cancer survivors aged 53–70 years, 12–60 months post-treatment, referred from a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center and a nonprofit breast cancer support organization from January 6 to August 31, 2020.

Methodologic Approach: This study used a mixed-methods approach. Participants journaled and answered questionnaires sent via mail that asked them about changes in their cognition, QOL, and social roles. Qualitative data were thematically analyzed using constant comparative analysis, and questionnaire scores were compared with qualitative data.

Findings: Journals revealed problems with functioning in occupational roles and increased stress, anxiety, and frustration. Women with more DIPs tended to have lower role satisfaction and QOL. Greater role satisfaction was associated with higher QOL and social role participation.

Implications for Nursing: Mitigating the effects of DIPs on social function may allow women to continue in important roles, which has the potential to affect QOL.

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