Cognitive Function in Breast Cancer Survivors Compared to Healthy Age- and Education-Matched Women

The cognitive function of breast cancer survivors (BC, n = 52) and individually matched healthy controls (n = 52) was compared on a battery of sensitive neuropsychological tests. The BC group endorsed significantly higher levels of subjective memory loss and scored significantly worse than controls on learning and delayed recall indices from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT). Defining clinically significant impairment as scores at or below the 7th percentile of the control group, the rate of cognitive impairment in the BC sample was 17% for total learning on the AVLT, 17% for delayed recall on the AVLT, and 25% for either measure. Findings indicate that a sizeable percentage of breast cancer survivors have clinically significant cognitive impairment.