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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cognitive and physical function in individuals treated with adjuvant FOLFOX chemotherapy for colon cancer : pilot study Niksirat, Negin


Background: Following chemotherapy, it is estimated that up to 95% of all cancer patients report cognitive changes such as complaints with memory and difficulty concentrating. This condition is referred to as chemotherapy-associated cognitive dysfunction or “chemo brain”. In addition, deficits in physical function are observed among those undergoing cancer treatment, as well as, long-term cancer survivors. While a decrease in physical activity participation has been shown among colorectal cancer patients over the course of chemotherapy, to date, changes in functional mobility over the course of chemotherapy has not been assessed in colon cancer patients using objective validated mobility tests. Furthermore, the association of cognitive and functional mobility dysfunction has not been explored. Purpose: To examine the effect of chemotherapy treatment on cognitive function, functional mobility and physical activity from baseline, to 6 months (end of chemotherapy) in individual being treated for colon cancer. Methods: At baseline and end of chemotherapy, participant completed a neuropsychological test battery, which included the Stroop, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R), and Trail Making A & B (TMT A&B), a 6-minute walk test (6MWT), a measure of physical function, and a functional mobility testing battery, which included timed up and go (TUG) and gait speed. Demographic information and self-reported physical activity, using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), were also collected at these time points. For the analysis of neuropsychological and mobility test scores, the paired t-test was used to test for the differences and assess the change in the mean scores from the baseline to 6-months. Results: No significant changes were noted in the HVLT-R, Stroop, and TMT-A and -B mean scores after completion of chemotherapy compared to baseline. Compared to baseline, no significant changes were observed for 6MWT, TUG, GS, or leisure-time physical activity after completion of chemotherapy. Conclusions: There were no significant changes in chemotherapy-associated cognitive, physical function, or functional mobility noted from baseline to the end of chemotherapy. In addition, physical activity levels and average time spent sitting did no change significantly. No definitive statements can be provided since the results are based on a small sample size.

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