Parental adjustment to the completion of their child's cancer treatment

Authors

  • Claire E. Wakefield PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital (SCH), Randwick, NSW, Australia
    2. School of Women's and Children's Health, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    • Behavioural Sciences Unit, Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital, High St, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jordana K. McLoone PhD,

    1. Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital (SCH), Randwick, NSW, Australia
    2. Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Phyllis Butow PhD,

    1. School of Psychology, Sydney University, Sydney, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kate Lenthen BSW,

    1. Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital (SCH), Randwick, NSW, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Richard J. Cohn M.B.B.Ch, FRACP

    1. Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital (SCH), Randwick, NSW, Australia
    2. School of Women's and Children's Health, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Conflict of interest: nothing to declare.

Abstract

Childhood cancer treatment completion is a significant milestone. However, coming off treatment may be a time of psychological vulnerability for parents. This review assesses published research (1979–2009) on the psychosocial impact of treatment completion on parents. Fifteen articles met all inclusion criteria and demonstrated that while they celebrate treatment completion, parents (particularly mothers) can experience significant distress, including fear of recurrence, fatigue, and loneliness. Distress appears to ease with time, possibly as the perceived risk of relapse declines. Continued psychosocial support specifically targeting parents' risk perceptions, physical and emotional fatigue, social isolation, and parenting concerns post-treatment is warranted. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2011;56:524–531. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary