5. Psychiatric Impact of Childhood Cancer

  1. Shulamith Kreitler2,3,4,
  2. Myriam Weyl Ben-Arush5,6 and
  3. Andrés Martin7,8
  1. Margaret L. Stuber

Published Online: 1 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119941033.ch5

Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, Second Edition

Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, Second Edition

How to Cite

Stuber, M. L. (2012) Psychiatric Impact of Childhood Cancer, in Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, Second Edition (eds S. Kreitler, M. W. Ben-Arush and A. Martin), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119941033.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 2

    School of Psychological Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

  2. 3

    Psychooncology Research Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

  3. 4

    Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel

  4. 5

    Department of Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Meyer Children's Hospital, Israel

  5. 6

    Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Technion Israel-Institute of Technology, the Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Haifa, Israel

  6. 7

    Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, USA

  7. 8

    Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, New Haven, CT, USA

Author Information

  1. Daniel X. Freedman Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2012
  2. Published Print: 27 JUL 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119998839

Online ISBN: 9781119941033



  • anxiety;
  • Childhood Cancer Survivors Study;
  • delirium;
  • depression;
  • late effects;
  • phobias;
  • siblings


Given the enormity of the psychological and physiological insult of a diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer, survivors, siblings, and parents are remarkably resilient. Pre-existing anxiety and family conflict increase vulnerability to later problems such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Screening tools are emerging that can allow targeted interventions. Intensity of treatment may be a risk factor for later psychiatric distress, although this appears to be associated with treatments that effect cognitive function. Little specific research has been done on the effectiveness of psychotropic drugs with children or adolescents on active cancer treatment, although SSRIs, haloperidol, and risperidone are commonly used. Progress in cancer survival and in more targeted treatments will result in yet larger numbers of childhood cancers survivors who will require specialized psychiatric understanding.