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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Apr 1;28(10):1740-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.4534. Epub 2010 Mar 1.

Psychological distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer: the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor study.

Author information

1
Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry, Institute of Social and Preventive, Medicine, University of Bern, Finkenhubelweg 11, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. michel@ispm.unibe.ch

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate the degree of psychological distress in adult childhood cancer survivors in Switzerland and to characterize survivors with significant distress.

METHODS:

Childhood cancer survivors who were age younger than 16 years when diagnosed between 1976 and 2003, had survived more than 5 years, and were currently age 20 years or older received a postal questionnaire. Psychological distress was assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Raw scores were transformed into T scores according to the German norm sample, and the proportion of participants being at increased risk for psychological distress was calculated (case rule: T > or = 63). t tests and univariable and multivariable logistic regressions were used for statistical analyses.

RESULTS:

One thousand seventy-six survivors (63.% of eligible survivors, 71.9% of contacted survivors) returned the questionnaire, 987 with complete data on BSI. Comparison with the norm populations showed lower T scores (T < 50) in the Global Severity Index (GSI; T = 46.2), somatization (T = 47.6), obsessive-compulsive tendencies (T = 46.9), and anxiety (T = 48.4). However, more childhood cancer survivors (especially women) had increased distress for GSI (14.4%), interpersonal sensitivity (16.5%), depression (13.4%), aggression (16.9%), and psychotic tendencies (15.6%) than the expected 10% from the norm population. Caseness was associated with female sex, being a single child, older age at study, and self-reported late effects, especially psychological problems.

CONCLUSION:

Results show that childhood cancer survivors, on average, have less psychological distress than a norm population but that the proportion of survivors at risk for high psychological distress is disproportionally large. Monitoring psychological distress in childhood cancer survivors may be desirable during routine follow-up, and psychological support should be offered as needed.

PMID:
20194864
DOI:
10.1200/JCO.2009.23.4534
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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