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New project seeks to improve cognitive impairment in brain cancer survivors

AIAS Fellow Lisa M. Wu has developed a new programme to help improve cognitive problems in brain cancer survivors. The project is funded by the Danish Cancer Society and aims to improve real-life functioning, work ability and quality of life for brain cancer survivors.

Photo: Lisa M. Wu. Credit: Aarhus University Photo

Up to 69% of the people who have undergone treatment for cancer in the brain experience cognitive impairments such as difficulties with verbal learning, attention, memory and other cognitive problems even years after treatment. Currently, no gold standard treatment exists to address and improve these late effects that brain cancer survivors experience.

A novel treatment programme entitled ‘I’m aware: Patients And Carers Together (ImPACT)’ is being initiated by AIAS Fellow, Associate Professor Lisa M. Wu. The 8-week programme will bring both the patient and family carers together, and train them to tackle the cognitive challenges they experience. It is a novel, context-sensitive neuropsychological rehabilitation programme based on an evidenced-based approach pioneered at New York University Hospital in the US, where Lisa M. Wu has previously worked.

“So often, cancer survivors who suffer from cognitive problems associated with brain cancer or its treatment are not given any tools or strategies to navigate their ‘new normal’. Therefore, the goal of the ImPACT programme is to work directly with the real-world problem areas that are affecting them and give survivors and their carers tools to navigate them into the future. Through this programme, we hope that improvements to daily life functioning will translate to better quality of life for both cancer survivors and their carers,” said Lisa M. Wu.

Optimal real-world functioning and large-scale potential

The two-year project will run from January 2022 to December 2024, and will be conducted in the Unit for Psycho-oncology and Health Psychology of the Department of Oncology at Aarhus University Hospital and the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences with Lisa M. Wu as principal investigator.

The ‘ImPACT’ programme will be delivered remotely or in-person and harnesses existing supports in the survivor’s life to promote optimal real-world functioning. The results of the project will provide vital data that could pave the way for a future large-scale trial. Moreover, findings would have important clinical implications for the management of these late effects in brain cancer survivors that could transform the nature of services provided to them.    

More about the ImPACT programme



Dr Lisa M. Wu, Associate Professor, AIAS Fellow

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, AIAS
Aarhus University
Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B 
DK-8000 Aarhus C