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Long-term population-based divorce rates among adult survivors of childhood cancer in Britain

Authors

  • Clare Frobisher PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
    • Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.
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  • Emma R. Lancashire PhD,

    1. Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
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  • David L. Winter,

    1. Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
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  • Aliki J. Taylor MPH,

    1. Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
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  • Raoul C. Reulen PhD,

    1. Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
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  • Michael M. Hawkins DPhil

    1. Centre for Childhood Cancer Survivor Studies (CCCSS), School of Health and Population Sciences, Public Health Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
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Abstract

Background

Previously from the British Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (BCCSS) it was seen that adult survivors of childhood cancer were less likely to marry than the general population. The objectives of this study were to assess the number of childhood cancer survivors from the BCCSS who were currently divorced or separated, examine factors associated with marriage dissolution and compare survivor divorce rates to population rates.

Procedure

The BCCSS is a population-based cohort of 18,119 individuals diagnosed with cancer aged 0–14 years between 1940 and 1991, and survived at least 5 years. 14,539 were alive, aged 16 years or over and eligible to receive a questionnaire, which ascertained marital status.

Results

From 8,155 survivors, who were aged at least 20 years at questionnaire completion, the proportions currently divorced and divorced or separated were 13.5% and 18.1%, respectively. Only current age, educational attainment and age at marriage were associated with divorce, and for divorce and separation status only age at marriage (P < 0.05). Overall the survivors were no different to the general population for being currently divorced (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence intervals (95% CI)): 0.94 (0.81–1.10)). However, the survivors overall (OR (95% CI): 0.82 (0.72–0.94)), and separately for those diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (OR (95% CI): 0.55 (0.34–0.89)) and leukaemia (OR (95% CI): 0.70 (0.52–0.95)), were less likely to be currently divorced or separated than the general population.

Conclusions

It is reassuring that survivors do not experience more divorce than the general population, and that no cancer or treatment factors were shown to be associated with marriage dissolution. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010; 54:116–122. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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