Sixteen patients who had a nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) who were treated with radiation therapy were followed up after a median duration of 5.5 years and given a battery of neuropsychological tests. Results were compared with a comparable group of newly diagnosed NPC patients awaiting radiation therapy. The irradiated group was significantly poorer in overall IQ, non-verbal memory recall, and reported a substantially greater number of memory related complaints. These results contrast with the complacent general assumption that radiation therapy has a negligible effect on adult functioning.
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