Need for psychological follow-up among young adult survivors of childhood cancer

Authors


Christine Eiser, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK (e-mail: c.eiser@sheffield.ac.uk).

Abstract

TAYLOR N., ABSOLOM K., SNOWDEN J. & EISER C., on behalf of the Late Effects Group Sheffield. (2012) European Journal of Cancer Care21, 52–58. Need for psychological follow-up among young adult survivors of childhood cancer

Follow-up is recommended for survivors of childhood cancer. Decisions about care tend to be made in terms of physical health, but psychological late effects including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms (PTSS) are prevalent. We report prevalence of PTSD/PTSS in a UK cohort, self-care and implications for organisation of follow-up. Eligible survivors (n= 218) under regular follow-up were invited to complete measures of PTSD, late effects and self-efficacy. Information about late effects was also taken from medical notes. A total of 118 survivors responded (54.1%) and 108 (49.5%) completed questionnaires. Prevalence of clinical PTSD (13.9%) was comparable with US findings. Female subjects and those who reported more late effects reported more PTSD. In regression analyses, number of survivor-reported late effects (but not number-recorded in medical notes) and PTSS predicted self-efficacy. Significant numbers of survivors report PTSS but this is unrelated to diagnosis or treatment. Female subjects and those who reported more physical late effects also reported more PTSS. Decisions to discharge survivors from routine care must consider psychological well-being as well as physical late effects. We recommend routine psychological screening for all survivors of childhood cancer and suggest this can be acceptable to survivors and feasible in clinic.

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