Background: Several studies have shown cognitive impairment occurring in patients after treatment of breast cancer. In this study, we investigated the mental rotation ability of patients with breast cancer (13 women) and 13 healthy control subjects.
Methods: Participants solved a chronometric mental rotation test with object-based and egocentric transformations between May and June 2016 in a laboratory at the Center for Plastic, Aesthetic, Hand, and Reconstructive Surgery. Two repeated measure analyses of variance were performed with “stimulus condition”, “group”, and “angular disparity” as independent variables and “reaction time” (RT) and “accuracy rate” as dependent measurements. Furthermore, depression score, physical self-appearance, and cognitive speed were measured. Three separate univariate analyses of variance (significance level alpha = 0.05) were performed with those three measurements as dependent variables and the factor “group”.
Results: The findings showed that women with breast cancer differed in their reaction time from subjects in the healthy control group: Women with breast cancer experienced fewer difficulties in solving the egocentric (1813.96 ± 1257.43) compared to the object-based transformations (2236.05 ± 1613.71, P = 0.043). There was no significant difference between the object-based transformation (1706.08 ± 473.11) and egocentric condition (2027.76 ± 932.66) in healthy women (P = 0.218).
Conclusion: The results give a hint that relation to egocentric transformations increases in women with breast cancer compared to healthy women.