Cognitive Challenges After Hormone Therapy

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Topics include: Treatment

We frequently hear about the side effects of cancer treatment, like nausea and hair loss, but rarely do we hear about how these treatments, specifically hormone therapy, can affect your memory and cognitive thinking abilities. On this episode of Patient Power, sponsored by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), you’ll hear from Dr. Monique Cherrier and Dr. Celestia (Tia) S. Higano, two leading experts in the field. Dr. Cherrier is professor of medicine and a medical oncologist at the University of Washington, the SCCA and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Higano is a neuropsychologist and director of the University of Washington Memory Health Research Program. Both experts share what they are learning about hormone therapy, and it’s lasting side effects.

Dr. Higano speaks about the history of hormone therapy, the role of PSA tests and how questions and complaints over the years from spouses have pushed researchers to investigate the causes of cognitive breakdowns among various patients. Does the patient have a high-stress job? Was this a pre-existing condition? Dr. Cherrier talks about experimental measures and clinical measures assisting them in researching the causes of cognitive disruption. Both experts discuss androgen deprivation therapy, the impact of testosterone in hormonal studies and the variances of cognitive issues being examined.

Dr. Higano and Dr. Cherrier both emphasize the importance of being proactive to prevent negative side effects and how research has brought great progress in this area. If you or someone you know has undergone treatment for prostate cancer, learn how cognitive functions can be affected and how talking to your doctor about proactive steps, can make a difference. Find out more about the motivation behind current studies and clinical trials and how these two experts, along with top experts around the country, are helping to make cancer and cancer treatment more tolerable.

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Andrew Schorr:

Although you frequently hear about the side effects of cancer treatment like nausea, you rarely hear about how these treatments, specifically hormone therapy for example for advanced prostate cancer, can affect your memory. Coming up you'll hear from two leading experts, clinical investigators about what they are learning about hormone therapy and its lasting side effects on cognitive abilities. All coming up next on Patient Power.

Hello and welcome to Patient Power. I'm Andrew Schorr. Thanks to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for helping with a whole series of programs connecting you with leading experts. Now, as a leukemia survivor I often thought, and so did all my friends who were patients, that the heavy duty drugs that we received caused chemo brain, so we just couldn't think as clearly, couldn't remember names. Or was it just that we were in our 40s or 50s or 60s and were just getting older, or was it the drugs. And if it was the drugs was that an effect just short term or later? Well, now it's being studied more. Specifically we're studying about hormonal therapies in men who have been treated for prostate cancer, often men with more advanced prostate cancer, not always, but if they've received hormonal therapy trying to understand does that have an effect on thinking, if you will, and on memory.

Well, you're going to meet two experts who have been studying this from the University of Washington associated with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. First let's meet Dr. Tia Higano. Dr. Higano is professor of medicine, she's a medical oncologist at the University of Washington, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and she is a prostate cancer specialist. Dr. Higano, thanks for being with us. So tell us about the history of this study.

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