Programs and Services
Breast Cancer Cognitive Evaluation Service
If you will be having chemotherapy as part of your breast cancer treatment, it’s important to know about a possible side effect. Some people who have cancer or cancer treatment experience changes in their cognitive functions or their ability to think.
These changes may include problems with learning and memory, concentration, multi-tasking, problem-solving, managing daily activities and other cognitive functions. Not all cancer patients will experience cognitive problems. For those who do, the problems can range from quite mild to severe, and may be temporary or persist over time.
Cognitive changes may occur because of the cancer itself or cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, in particular, may cause cognitive problems because it travels through the bloodstream. In addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy also affects healthy cells throughout the body, including the brain. Having cancer and undergoing chemotherapy can also make you feel tired and cause physical discomfort. Some patients also experience emotional changes when faced with cancer and cancer treatments. These factors can also affect your thinking abilities.
What is the Breast Cancer Cognitive Evaluation Service?In addition to treating your cancer, your overall quality of life is very important to us.
The Breast Cancer Cognitive Evaluation Service helps women face cognitive problems related to breast cancer or breast cancer treatment. The clinic, unique in the region, is located in the Breast Care Center at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin.
Before chemotherapy begins, Medical College of Wisconsin neuropsychologist David Sabsevitz, PhD, will conduct simple tests to obtain baseline information on your cognitive abilities. The evaluation takes about 60 to 90 minutes and is considered a standard part of treatment for all breast cancer patients who will receive chemotherapy.
To determine if cognitive changes occur during or after treatment, Dr. Sabsevitz will also conduct regular follow-up evaluations. If changes are noted, many therapies are available to help improve your cognitive function and quality of life.
For more information on the Breast Cancer Cognitive Evaluation Service, please call 414-805-0505 or 866-680-0505.
For more information on the effects of chemotherapy on cognition, visit: helpstartshere.org/ChemobrainCognitiveProblems.
Author: Marla Fraunfelder
Date: Oct. 1, 2009
Last Review Date: Feb. 17, 2011
Online Editor(s): Kathryn Adam