Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Cancer. 2010 Jun;46(9):1596-606. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety among adult long-term survivors of cancer in adolescence.

Author information

  • 1University Ulm, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychotherapy, Steinhövelstrasse 5, D-89075 Ulm, Germany.



To determine the prevalence of posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety in adults who have survived cancer (5 years) diagnosed in adolescence, as compared to healthy controls.


Survivors (n=820) of cancer during adolescence (age M=30.4+/-6.0 years; M=13.7+/-6.0 years since diagnosis) and 1027 matched controls without history of cancer (age M=31.5+/-6.9 years) completed standardised questionnaires measuring posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety. Additionally, sub-groups of 202 survivors and 140 controls with elevated scores received structured interviews to ascertain DSM-IV-diagnoses.


A total of 22.4% of the survivors reported clinically relevant symptoms of posttraumatic stress, anxiety and/or depression compared to 14.0% of the controls (odds ratios [ORs] 1.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.39-2.26). The odds of posttraumatic stress symptoms in male (OR 3.92, 95% CI 1.80-8.51) and female (OR 3.83, 95% CI 2.54-5.76) survivors were more than three times those in the controls. However, only female survivors reported symptoms of depression and anxiety significantly more often (respectively: OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.16-3.85; and OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.33-2.59) than the controls. A relevant subgroup of 24.3% of the survivors met DSM-IV criteria for at least one mental disorder compared to 15.3% of the controls.


Survivors of cancer during adolescence show an elevated risk of presenting symptoms of posttraumatic stress, anxiety and/or depression during adulthood which is also reflected in a greater number of DSM-IV diagnoses when compared to controls. Comprehensive follow-up assessments should include the examination of possible psychological late effects of a cancer diagnosis in adolescence in order to identify survivors needing psychosocial interventions even years after the completion of successful medical treatment.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk