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Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction: Addressing the Impacts

presented by Suzänne Taylor PhD

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Often described as having difficulty with paying attention or concentration, difficulty with short-term memory, and feeling forgetful, cancer-related cognitive dysfunction (CRCD) affects up to 75% of cancer survivors. Up to 35% of these individuals may experience persistent cognitive impairment for months or years following treatment. In this course Dr. Suzänne Taylor details how CRCD impacts activity performance, emotional well-being, and interpersonal relationships. She then explains how therapists are best able to screen, assess the impact, evaluate, and treat those with CRCD based upon our current understanding of CRCD, current guidelines, and suspected contributing factors.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Suzänne Taylor PhD, MBA, OTR/L

    Suzänne Taylor, PhD, MBA, OTR/L, has extensive experience in oncology rehabilitation including providing direct therapy interventions and presenting on state, regional, and national levels. Dr. Taylor has dedicated her career to furthering oncology rehabilitation education, research, and program development. Her clinical practice included working in areas of surgical oncology, otolaryngology, hematology and medical oncology, bone marrow transplant, and palliative care. She provided therapy services from diagnosis through end-of-life in both acute care and outpatient settings. Dr. Taylor also has multi-facility management experience including supervision of therapy teams and oversight of operations. Now an oncology researcher in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Taylor is leading the development of a community-based oncology rehabilitation program for the greater Richmond, Virginia area. In addition, she created and maintains the website: www.OToncology.org as a means of organizing and disseminating information for therapists working in oncology.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. What is Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction?

    1. What is Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction?

    In previous years, the cognitive dysfunction experienced by many cancer survivors was often dismissed as either related to the stress of cancer, or perhaps present before any oncology treatments. Previously referred to as chemo-brain, a growing body of research supports the long suspected concept that cognition may be impaired due to the cancer itself and /or cancer treatments. In this chapter Dr. Taylor explains our understanding of suspected physiological changes, premorbid conditions, and contributing factors to CRCD.

  2. The Impact of Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction

    2. The Impact of Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction

    This chapter focuses on how CRCD impacts the cancer survivor's life on multiple levels from their sense of self and relationships through performance of everyday activities. Join Dr. Taylor as she highlights how the compounding effects of CRCD become significantly disruptive in both the cancer survivor's and their loved ones' lives.

  3. Screening, Assessing, and Evaluating Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction

    3. Screening, Assessing, and Evaluating Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction

    Considering that upwards of 75% of cancer survivors experience changes in their cognitive functioning at some point between pre-diagnosis and through advanced disease, therapists should screen every client that has, or has had, cancer. At present there are no widely accepted measures to screen, assess, and evaluate CRCD, yet there are a multitude of options. Join Dr. Taylor as explains the current guidelines related to the identification and evaluation of CRCD.

  4. Treating Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction

    4. Treating Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction

    Steady progress over the past decades has improved our understanding of cognitive impairments associated with cancer and cancer treatments. However, at present there are no clear guidelines for the management of CRCD. In this chapter Dr. Taylor emphasizes the need for therapists to utilize their clinical skills and knowledge to treat CRCD and improve functional abilities and quality of life for their clients. She explains how therapists can utilize a three-pronged approach of compensation, rehabilitation, and mitigation to best optimize cognitive performance.