Success despite room for error
While self-reporting may open the door for individual bias and error, comparing the results of breast cancer patients with the results of healthy women still allowed Janelsins and her team to identify disparities in cognitive function between the two groups. The research team was also able to focus specifically on potential factors that have an influence on mental health and decline, such as age, level of education, race, and whether or not the women had reached or passed menopause.
The questionnaire focuses on an individual’s perception of their cognitive abilities within a seven-day period, and by taking the survey at various stages during and post-treatment, researchers can identify decreases in mental ability. Using a five-point scale for each response, patients can indicate mental lapses across various tasks ranging from never, all the way up to several times a day.