'Like a sieve': An exploratory study on cognitive impairments in patients with multiple myeloma

B. Potrata, J. Cavet, S. Blair, T. Howe, Alexandros Molasiotis

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to obtain a more in-depth understanding of cognitive impairments and concerns as described by patients with multiple myeloma and the strategies used to cope with them. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were undertaken with 15 multiple myeloma patients of differing age ranges and at various stages of their disease. Various cognitive impairments, such as problems with short-term memory, poor recall and lack of concentration were observed and/or expressed in at least 10 out of 15 patients, all of them long(er)-term survivors. In some patients cognitive impairments significantly interfered with their personal and professional lives, and for some patients these were described as permanent. The patients used various coping strategies, from denial, taking notes, writing diaries, reading simpler texts, using talking books and videos, to using systems for counting medication to cope with the results of their cognitive impairment. Our findings differ from much of the contemporary literature which states that if cognitive impairments in cancer patients occur, they are mostly mild and transient. More proactive supportive care is needed to help patients with multiple myeloma to cope with poorer cognitive functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-728
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Stem cell transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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