Background: Memory impairments are debilitating adverse effects of malignant tumors and their various treatments. Factors such as cardiac complications and sleep loss/impairment can exacerbate memory problems for cancer patients and survivors. We examined the relationships among history of cardiac complications, short sleep duration, and self-reported memory problems (SRMP) in adult-onset cancer survivors.

Methods: We included data from middle-aged (41 to 64 years) participants who completed the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative, stratified, multistage probability sample of the civilian, non-institutionalized population of the United States. We excluded participants with a history of brain cancer or stroke since these conditions are expected to cause cognitive problems because of direct insults to the brain. Using binary a logistic regression, we determined the prevalence of SRMP in cancer survivors relative to cardiac complications and short sleep duration (< 5 hours/night) by weighting our results proportionally. We controlled for demographic predictors of memory problems: age, sex, race, education and general health.

Results: The sample included 2,289 adults (49% female). There were 46% Whites, 20% Blacks, 29% Hispanics, and 4% Asian/other. A total of 9% of the sample were cancer survivors. Cardiac complications (Odds ratio (OR), 6.97, p < 0.029; 95%CI, 1.21 to 40.05) and short sleep duration (OR, 25.30, p < 0.002; 95%CI, 3.35 to 191.28) statistically significantly predicted SRMP that interfere with activities of daily functioning. Short sleep duration partially mediated the relationship between cardiac complications and SRMP to the order of 9.18% (p < 0.0001). Among participants without a cancer history, neither cardiac complications nor short sleep were associated with SRMP (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: The likelihood of SRMP is higher in cancer survivors with a history of cardiac complications or short sleep duration. Future studies are needed to systematically delineate the cardiac-sleep-memory relationships, which could inform the development of reliable assessment and intervention to mitigate memory impairments and sleep problems for cancer survivors.

Citation Format: Pascal Jean-Pierre, Michael Grandner, Elizabeth Henry. Self-reported memory problems in adult-onset cancer survivors in the United States: Effects of cardiac complications, short sleep duration, and general health. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research; 2013 Oct 27-30; National Harbor, MD. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Can Prev Res 2013;6(11 Suppl): Abstract nr B20.