Problem Identification: Cognitive impairment is a common and troublesome side effect experienced by many cancer survivors. It can have a significant impact on survivors’ ability to function and enjoy a high quality of life. However, most cognitive impairment research has focused on breast cancer survivors, despite the high rates of colorectal cancer and the toxicity of treatment agents in some colorectal cancer chemotherapeutic regimens, which have been linked to cognitive impairment. This review provides a novel synthesis of what is known about cognitive impairment in colorectal cancer survivors.
Literature Search: CINAHL®, Cochrane Library, Embase®, PsycINFO®, and PubMed® were systematically searched by a health sciences librarian.
Data Evaluation: Data were extracted across studies; findings about the prevalence, severity, and correlates of cognitive impairment were synthesized.
Synthesis: Across findings from 26 articles representing 24 independent studies, 13%–57% of participants had cognitive impairment. Potential demographic, physiologic, and psychological correlates of cognitive impairment were identified.
Implications for Practice: Findings indicate a need to focus research and patient assessments on early identification of risk factors, assessing for existing cognitive deficits and testing interventions to decrease cognitive impairment in colorectal cancer survivors.