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Cognitive Dysfunction and Its Relationship to Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors

Diane Von Ah
Kathleen M. Russell
Anna Maria Storniolo
Janet S. Carpenter
ONF 2009, 36(3), 326-336 DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.326-334

Purpose/Objectives: To examine relationships between capacity to direct attention and the quality-of-life (QOL) domains of psychological and physical well-being in breast cancer survivors.

Design: Descriptive, correlational.

Setting: National Cancer Institute-designated oncology and county hospital outpatient clinics in the midwestern region of the United States.

Sample: 134 breast cancer survivors aged 32-79 years (X = 56.3, SD = 9.4) with a mean of 6.4 years since diagnosis (SD = 2.8, range = 1-10).

Methods: Secondary analysis of questionnaire data measuring cognitive dysfunction and two QOL domains. Descriptive statistics, Pearson or Spearman correlations, and multiple regression analysis were used.

Main Research Variables: Capacity to direct attention, as well as psychological and physical well-being.

Findings: Deficits in capacity to direct attention were related to poorer QOL, including more depressive symptoms, lower well-being, poorer physical functioning, and greater fatigue.

Conclusions: Capacity to direct attention was related to psychological and physical well-being in breast cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses are in a prime position to assess breast cancer survivors' capacity to direct attention and resulting relationships with QOL. Findings suggest that nursing interventions that address survivors' capacity to direct attention may have a broad impact on QOL.

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