Memory lapses in daily life among breast cancer survivors and women without cancer history

Stacey B. Scott, Jacqueline A. Mogle, Martin J. Sliwinski, Heather S.L. Jim, Brent J. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Cancer-associated cognitive decline is a concern among cancer survivors. Survivors' memory lapses (eg, location of keys, names, and reason entered room) may negatively impact quality of life. This study used smartphone-based surveys to compare cancer survivors to those without cancer history on frequency of, severity of, and affective response to daily memory lapses. Methods: For 14 evenings, breast cancer survivors (N = 47, M age = 52.9) and women without a cancer history (N = 105, M age = 51.8) completed smartphone-based surveys on memory lapse occurrence and severity and negative and positive affect. Results: Survivors were nearly three times more likely to report a daily memory lapse but did not differ from comparison group on memory lapse severity. Negative affect was significantly higher on days with memory lapses associated with doing something in the future (eg, appointments) but this did not differ across groups. Positive affect was not significantly related to survivorship status or the occurrence of daily memory lapses. Conclusion: Survivors may be at-risk for more frequent memory lapses. Both survivors and women without a history of cancer reported greater negative affect on days when memory lapses occurred, suggesting that daily cognitive functioning may have important implications for quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-868
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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