Several women who undergo treatment for breast cancer experience cancer-related cognitive impairment [CRCI] commonly known as ‘Chemobrain’ or ‘Chemofog’. However, many oncologists and other cancer clinicians are unaware of the high prevalence and severity of these symptoms. Few qualitative studies on the topic provide a comprehensive description of this phenomenon. This study provides a detailed description of women’s experiences of CRCI, its impact on daily life and care received for it following treatment for breast cancer in Australia. Experiences of CRCI included difficulty in remembering things and recalling previously known tasks, inability to stay focussed on a task and other symptoms. The impact on daily life included economic, psychosocial and minimal impacts. Participants described both good care received as well as the clinical team’s lack of understanding of CRCI. We conclude that CRCI in women treated for breast cancer affects memory and attention and has a significant impact on women’s lives. Care provided for CRCI is inadequate in Australia. The economic and psychosocial impacts on women’s daily lives coupled with increasing rates of survivorship highlight the need for more resources to be allocated for the management of these symptoms.
- Breast cancer