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J Pediatr. 2011 Jan;158(1):135-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.07.008. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

School performance of childhood cancer survivors: mind the teenagers!

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Department of Pediatric Hematology, University Hospital, Rennes, France.



To assess school performance in an unselected group of childhood cancer survivors and study risk factors for impairment.


Rates of repeating a grade were compared for patients with cancer, their siblings, and the general population. Phone questionnaires were administered to patients about the school career of their child in remission and their siblings. Responses about cancer survivors were compared with those concerning their siblings and various registries provided by the national board of education. The primary outcome was the rate of repeating a grade.


A total of 148 children in remission with a mean age of 15 ± 5.3 years and a mean follow-up period since diagnosis of 6.3 ± 1.3 years were included. More patients than siblings repeated a grade (33% versus 21%; P = .02), with a mean delay since diagnosis of 2 years. Risk factors were an older age at diagnosis, attending a secondary school, low education level of parents, bone marrow transplantation, cerebral surgery, and physical sequelae. In multivariate analysis, risk for repeating was associated with low educational level of the father, attending secondary school at diagnosis, and requiring school-organized educational support on return to school.


After cancer, repeating a grade is not an exceptional occurrence, especially for teenagers; follow-up and supportive interventions before returning to school would be beneficial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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