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The Role of Occupational Therapy in Older Adults With Cognitive Impairments and an Oncology Diagnosis

Munoz, Lauro A. OTR, MOT, CHC; Campbell, Claudine MOT, OTR/L, CLT; Bowyer, Patricia MS, OTR, EdD, FAOTA

doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000078
Rehabilitation Considerations for the Older Cancer Survivor

As more individuals are diagnosed with cancer each year, it is becoming increasingly obvious that cancer treatment may impact cognitive function in a subgroup of vulnerable individuals. Age is considered a well-established risk factor for cognitive decline, and researchers have speculated that a cancer diagnosis and its treatment may render older cancer survivors more vulnerable to these age-associated cognitive declines than their healthy counterparts. In other words, age-associated cognitive declines may be accelerated in the older cancer survivor. This article discusses the distinct contributions occupational therapy practitioners can offer to clients with cognitive dysfunction associated with cancer and cancer-related treatment. Occupational therapists may, through comprehensive evaluation and treatment, facilitate a safe transition to pre-illness levels of function, responsibilities, and roles, or improve cognitive and functional capacity for clients with cancer-related cognitive dysfunction.

Department of Rehabilitation Services, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas (Mr Munoz); Rehabilitation Services, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York (Ms Campbell); and School of Occupational Therapy-Houston, Institute of Health Sciences, Texas Woman's University, Houston (Dr Bowyer).

Correspondence: Lauro A. Munoz, OTR, MOT, CHC, Department of Rehabilitation Services, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Alkek, Room G!3418, Unit 98, Houston, TX 77030 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare or sources of funding to report.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.