Psychological distress in long‐term survivors of solid tumors diagnosed in childhood: A report from the childhood cancer survivor study

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, United States
Pediatric Blood & Cancer (Impact Factor: 2.56). 07/2007; 49(1):47 - 51. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.20914

ABSTRACT PurposeTo evaluate and compare psychological distress in long-term survivors of solid tumors diagnosed in childhood and their siblings, and to identify significant correlates of psychological distress.ProcedureAdult survivors (2,778) of solid tumors diagnosed in childhood and 2,925 siblings completed a long-term follow-up questionnaire assessing symptoms associated with depression, somatization, and anxiety, as well as demographic, health, and medical information.ResultsOverall, a large majority of siblings and survivors reported few, if any, symptoms of psychological distress. In the aggregate, solid tumor cancer survivors reported significantly higher levels of global distress as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18), as well as higher levels of somatization and anxiety, when compared to siblings. However, when compared to population norms, both survivors and siblings reported lower levels of global and dimensional distress. Female gender, lower educational and income attainment, perceived poor health status and reports of current health problems all were associated with reporting psychological distress symptoms for both survivors and siblings. Among survivors, having a limb amputation was associated with reporting fewer symptoms of global and dimensional distress.Conclusion
Poor health status, low levels of income, education, and employment appear to be predictors of distress for survivors of solid tumors. Thus, interventions that promote health and facilitate educational advancement, income attainment and social interaction to minimize isolation and maximize social support may reduce psychological distress and promote quality of life for childhood cancer survivors. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2007;49:47–51. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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    ABSTRACT: To describe how the quality of life (QOL) discussion in childhood medulloblastoma (MB) relates to treatment developments, survival and sequelae from 1920 to 2014. Articles containing "childhood medulloblastoma" and "quality of life" were identified in PubMed. Those containing phrases pertaining to psychological, emotional, behavioral or social adjustment in the title, abstract or keywords were selected. Inclusion of relevant older publications was assured by cross-checking references. 1920-1930s: suction, electro-surgery, kilovolt (KV) irradiation. Survival = months. Focus on operative mortality, symptoms and survival. 1940s: radiotherapy improved. 1950s: chemotherapy and intubation. Survival = years. Opinions oscillated between optimism/awareness of physical sequelae of radiotherapy. 1960s: magnified vision, ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunts, megavolt (MV) irradiation. Long-term survival shifted the attention towards neurological problems, disability and carcinogenesis of radiotherapy. 1970s: CT, microscope, bipolar coagulation, shunt filters, neuroanesthesia, chemotherapy trials and staging studies. Operative mortality decreased and many patients (re)entered school; emphasis on neuropsychological sequelae, IQ and academic performance. 1980s: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Cavitron ultrasonic aspiration (CUSA), laser surgery, hyper-fractionated radiotherapy (HFRT). Cerebellar mutism, psychological and social issues. 1990s: pediatric neurosurgery, proton beams, stem cell rescue. Reflections on QOL as such. 21st century: molecular genetics. Premature aging, patterns of decline, risk- and resilience factors. QOL is a critical outcome measure. Focus depends on survival and sequelae, determined after years of follow-up. Detailed measurements are limited by time, money and human resources, and self-reporting questionnaires represent a crude measure limited by subjectivity. Therapeutic improvements raise the question of QOL versus cure. QOL is a potential primary research endpoint; multicenter international studies are needed, as are web-based tools that work across cultures.
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