Long Term Achvmnts: Childhood Ca Survivors

Research Article

Educational achievement, employment and living situation in long-term young adult survivors of childhood cancer in the Netherlands

N.E. Langeveld 1 *, M.C. Ubbink 1, B.F. Last 2, M.A. Grootenhuis 2, P.A. VoÛte 1, R.J. de Haan 3

1Department of Paediatric Oncology, Emma Kinderziekenhuis, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2Paediatric Psychosocial Department, Emma Kinderziekenhuis, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 3Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Emma Kinderziekenhuis, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

*Correspondence to N.E. Langeveld, Department of Paediatric Oncology, F8-243, Emma Kinderziekenhuis, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract

This paper investigated educational achievement, employment status, living situation, marital status and offspring in 500 Dutch long-term young adults survivors of childhood cancer (age range, 16-49 years, 47% female).

The results were compared with a reference group of 1092 persons with no history of cancer (age range, 15-33 years, 55% female). The impact of demographic and medical characteristics on psychosocial adjustment was studied.

All participants completed a self-report questionnaire. The results showed that, although many survivors are functioning well and leading normal lives, a subgroup of survivors were less likely to complete high-school, to attain an advanced graduate degree, to follow normal elementary or secondary school and had to be enrolled more often on learning disabled programs.

The percentage of employed survivors was lower than the percentage of employed controls in the comparison group, but more survivors were student or homemaker. Survivors had lower rates of marriage and parenthood, and worried more about their fertility and the risk of their children having cancer.

Survivors, especially males, lived more often with their parents. Cranial irradiation dose 25 Gy was an important independent prognostic factor of lower educational achievement.

Survivors with a history of brain/CNS tumours had a higher risk of being single than survivors with a diagnosis of leukaemia/non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

These results indicate that important aspects of life are affected in a substantial number of persons who have been diagnosed with cancer during childhood or adolescence.

Psycho-Oncology Volume 12, Issue 3, 2003. Pages: 213-225

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