Psychosocial consequences of cure

Cancer. 1986 Jul 15;58(2 Suppl):529-33. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19860715)58:2+<529::aid-cncr2820581320>;2-n.


Survivors of childhood cancer, having overcome the biggest hurdle to a normal life span, must continue to be vigilant toward health care issues as well as toward certain psychological and social problems for which they are at a greater than normal risk. The long-term survivor's knowledge about his/her illness, its treatment, and the consequent need for health surveillance and maintenance practices must be continually updated. Equally important is the survivor's preparation for coping with any long-term consequences of disruption in family, academic, and social activities engendered by cancer treatment. Existing research has frequently focused on patients diagnosed in early childhood. Recent studies, however, suggest that the developmental disruptions may have special significance for the adolescent, who is already struggling with unique issues of separation, changes in peer relationships, emergent sexuality, and future academic and occupational goals. Previous investigations addressing the medical and psychiatric problems encountered by the long-term survivor of adolescent cancer are presented with a focus on current psychological adjustment and degree of emancipation achieved. A recent pilot study, from three major medical centers, collected extensive interview data on a group of long-term survivors and sibling controls. Preliminary analyses of these data are described, and areas for future research are suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Stress, Psychological