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Soc Work Health Care. 1999;28(4):31-43.

Quality of life in adult survivors of childhood cancer.

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Israel Institute for the Treatment and Prevention of Stress, School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Israel.


Sixty-four adult survivors of childhood cancer, recruited via Israel's largest pediatric cancer treatment center, participated in a multi-dimensional assessment of long-term adjustment and quality of life in the domains of educational achievement, employment status, military service, family status, health, and psychological well-being. Subjects had been diagnosed with cancer prior to age 18, were three years or more off therapy with no evidence of disease, and over 18 years old at the time of the study. Data from structured interviews were compared to responses on similar items from a control group with no history of serious illness during childhood, matched for age, sex, and parental education levels. Results indicated an overall pattern of integration into the social mainstream, with similar objective levels of achievement for survivors and controls for most measures of education, employment, significant relationships, and psychological well-being. Results also indicated certain areas of disadvantage, such as military recruitment difficulties, lower income levels, and higher rates of workplace rejection. Significantly, almost half of the survivor sample reported subjective feelings that their illness experience had impaired their achievement in several domains. Quality of life is considered an important outcome parameter in terms of clinical decision making as well as in guiding preventive and supportive intervention efforts.

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