A new large-scale research has proved that people who have had cancer are 40 percent more vulnerable to experience memory problems that interfere with daily functioning than those who didn't have the disease.
The finding is believed to be one of the first derived from a nationwide sample of people diagnosed with different cancers.
It supports the findings of cancer-related memory impairment in smaller studies of certain cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.
"The findings show that memory impairment in cancer patients is a national problem that we must pay special attention to," said Pascal Jean-Pierre, assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, department of pediatrics.
The sample included 9,819 people, aged 40 years and older, from diverse educational and racial-ethnic backgrounds.
Within that group, 1,305 participants reported they had cancer or a history of cancer. All participants had a physical exam and responded to a survey.
Fourteen percent of participants who had cancer reported memory impairment compared to 8 percent of participants who did not have cancer.
"The findings indicate that cancer is, therefore, a key independent predictor of memory problems in the sample studied," said Jean-Pierre.
"These memory issues can be related to treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapies, or to the tumor biology itself, which could change brain chemistry and neurobehavioral function," said Jean-Pierre.
Results were presented at the third American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities.