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Cognitive and functional outcomes in older breast cancer survivors

A study into cognitive ageing and cancer

There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment for breast cancer over the last couple of decades, and this, coupled with an ageing population, means there are more survivors living longer after cancer treatment.

Some may have poorer memory, concentration, or attention (cognitive difficulties). 
This study aims to capture how older people are functioning both, cognitively, and how they are able to carry out their normal daily tasks.

We are looking for:
- women aged over 65yrs who have never had cancer (control group),
- women over 65yrs who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Even if women don’t believe they have any cognitive issues, the study is still suitable for them to take part in. Please consider if family members or friends could be interested in this study and feel free to share the information.

The participants will do a single individual session for assessment of their cognitive and everyday functioning with the researcher.
The session lasts about 3-4 hours – often 2 hours in the morning, a break for lunch, and then another 1.5 hours.

The assessment is held at the Survivorship Cottage, Concord Hospital or at the Survivorship Research Group, The University of Sydney, Camperdown.


This study may be suitable for you if you match the following criteria:

Group A: Women aged 65 years or older with no history of cancer (Control group) 

Group B: Women aged 65 years or older at time of breast cancer diagnosis who have had:

  • definitive surgery performed
  • completed chemotherapy (neo/adjuvant) at least 6-60 months previously
  • if required, completed targeted therapy, eg Herceptin, at least 6 months previously
  • if required, been on the same anti-cancer hormonal treatment for at least 2 months
  • have no evidence of recurrence of cancer.
Exclusion criteria 
  • Any major active psychiatric illness, dementia, alcohol or substance abuse, that may interfere with their ability to perform cognitive testing 
  • Pre-existing neurological condition, poor visual acuity, or any other co-morbidity, which may interfere with the ability to perform cognitive testing
  • History of invasive cancer (other than the current breast cancer)
  • Prior chemotherapy for a malignancy (other than the current breast cancer)
  • Minimal English skills – unable to follow written English instructions and read to a year 8 standard

How to participate

If you are interested in assisting with this important and exciting area of research, please contact the Study Coordinator on 1800 778167 or email for further information.