Cancer Rehabilitation Neuropsychology
Cancer and cancer treatments can have an impact on more than physical health. People with cancer or a history of cancer sometimes notice problems with thinking, behavior, and emotions during and after treatment. Cancer Rehabilitation Neuropsychology can help.
How does cancer impact thinking/behavior/emotions?
With advances in medicine, there are now more survivors of cancer than ever before who have had their life prolonged by chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Patients with cancer or a history of cancer may nevertheless experience persisting problems resulting from tumor effects, central nervous system metastases, leptomeningial metastases, tumor-related epilepsy, treatment effects, psychological distress, and metabolic changes.
Cancer-related changes in thinking can include problems with memory, attention, language, and problem-solving. Cancer-related psychological distress can result in depression, anxiety, irritability/mood swings, grief, and difficulty adjusting to major life changes. Depression, anxiety, trauma, and distress can also worsen problems with thinking and reduce quality of life.
What is neuropsychology and how can it help?
The good news is that neuropsychologists can provide new strategies to reduce the burden of problems with memory, attention, and other changes in thinking. Psychological treatment can also improve emotional symptoms that may be impacting quality of life, worsening thinking problems, or impeding recovery.
Neuropsychologists are clinical psychologists with specialty training in brain-behavior relationships. This training includes behavioral science, psychological treatments, neuropathology, and functional neuroanatomy.
A neuropsychological assessment is non-invasive. It includes a thorough interview and review of medical records, and administration of tests of brain functioning and psychological symptoms. These tests are paper-and-pencil, question-and-answer, and/or computer administered. The neuropsychologist uses all of this data to aid in diagnosis and design effective treatment plans.
Dr. Nicolette Gabel is a board certified Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and her focus is cancer rehabilitation. She provides both assessments and individualized treatments for cancer-related thinking problems and psychological distress.
What is cancer rehabilitation?
Cancer Rehabilitation involves helping people with cancer obtain maximum physical, social, psychological, and vocational/work functioning. Neuropsychological services may be an important aspect of rehabilitation care for patients for whom cancer has had an impact on thinking, behavior, and/or emotions.