Childhood cancer patients at school

Eur J Cancer. 2002 Jun;38(9):1227-40. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(02)00066-7.


The aim of this study was to assess the school-related problems of childhood cancer patients. A cross-sectional questionnaire study for school-aged children with extracranial malignancies, in the area of Turku University Hospital serving around 1000000 people. Siblings, healthy pupils and teachers were studied as controls. 43 patients responded. None of the patients or controls was placed in special educational programmes. However, 30.8% of the patients, 15.7% of the controls and 3.7% of the siblings had required extra tutoring. The patients' results differed statistically from both the siblings' (P=0.022) and the controls' (P=0.041) results. The school marks in mathematics (P=0.05) and in foreign languages (P=0.06) tended to be worse for the patients than for the healthy controls. Bullying was reported by 31.7% of the patients, 10.9% of controls (P=0.0012) and 8.3% of the siblings (P=0.056). The biggest problem faced by the cancer patients was bullying-the patients reported approximately 3 times as much bullying as the healthy children did. It seems that there are still several aspects which need to be reconsidered when these children return to school or start their school-life as survivors of childhood cancer. Some proposals are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Isolation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Survivors
  • Teaching / methods