The book may be the answer to fight the cancer brain fog

Researchers at the University of South Australia are studying the potential effects of bibliotherapy by investigating the potential of fictitious reading as a form of “escape” for cancer patients.

“There’s something to say, especially for those who are facing some very tough battles, including painful health, to get hooked on books and escape reality for a while.” PhD candidate Elizabeth Wells said.

The idea behind her work came from a study in the United Kingdom (pdf), Here, bibliotherapy (read as a form of treatment) has been found to improve “mental health, sadness, and even chronic pain.”

However, Wells does not want the patient to read the fiction himself, but instead listens to the patient for the fiction that is read aloud.

“they [cancer patients] Chemotherapy has been found to be difficult to read because it affects the frontal lobe of the brain, which is primarily involved in attention and memory, “Wells said.

“Cancer fog”, Phenomena reported by many cancer survivors refer to catalogs of memory and thinking problems, which can last for years after remission and affect the patient’s ability to concentrate and read. Often given.

It is now believed that chemotherapy may be the leading cause of cancer fog. Especially for people who suffer from breast cancer. However, there are existing studies showing that cognitive impairment can also occur when a tumor first appears.

Wells said he witnessed the phenomenon directly in both mothers with aggressive forms of cancer and library patrons diagnosed with cancer.

But the area of ​​the brain responsible for understanding spoken language Not the frontal lobe Therefore, she believes that reading the fiction aloud to the patient can solve this problem, as it is generally unaffected by chemotherapy.

Nonetheless, evidence-based research on the potential benefits of bibliotherapy as a form of emotional or psychological treatment is still inadequate.

With the UK European studies Reading shows that self-help books improve mental health and reduce pain in patients with chronic pain Further research in the United States Reading the Bible in cancer patients also improved stress, but more research is needed to examine the effects of bibliotherapy on patients.

The study now seeks to involve cancer patients at various stages of cancer treatment, including those who are currently being treated and those who have completed treatment in the last 12 months.

“Cancer fog can affect people receiving all types of cancer treatment, so recruitment for research is recognized not only for people receiving chemotherapy, but also for cancer fog. It’s not limited to those who are, “Wells explained.

As part of my researchParticipants are exposed to fiction works that are read aloud for 6 weeks at 30-40 minute intervals each week for the selected subject or author.

The university said participants would monitor the level of stress and anxiety at the beginning of the 6-week program and measure it again at the end. If you have a family, we will also interview them.

“My personal goal is to establish a reading program at the Cancer Center. I want to see it,” Wells said.

Marina Chan


Marina Chan is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]