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Front Psychol. 2017 May 10;8:704. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00704. eCollection 2017.

Long-Term Effects of Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation after Pediatric Cancer: A Qualitative Analysis of Life Experiences and Adaptation Strategies.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université catholique de LouvainBrussels, Belgium.
2
Institute of Health and Society, Université catholique de LouvainBrussels, Belgium.
3
Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research, Université catholique de LouvainBrussels, Belgium.
4
Department of Pediatrics, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-LucBrussels, Belgium.

Abstract

Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) improves the survival rate of children and adolescents with malignant and non-malignant conditions; however, the physical, psychological and social burden of such a procedure is considerable both during and after treatment. The present qualitative study investigated the long-term effects of HSCT after pediatric cancer. Thirty adolescent and young adult (AYA) survivors (Mage = 23.61 years, SD = 5.21) participated in individual interviews and were invited to speak about their life experiences following their treatment and strategies they use to deal with their past medical experiences and the long-term sequelae. Our results showed the presence of ongoing physical and psychosocial consequences of their past illness and its treatments with wide ranging psychosocial impacts, such as affected self-image, social withdrawal, sense of lack of choice, and need for specific attention. Different strategies were reported to overcome these consequences, such as talking about illness, giving a sense to their past medical experiences, and developing meaningful social relationships. Clinical and research implications are also discussed.

KEYWORDS:

coping strategies; haematopoietic stem cell transplantation; long-term effects; pediatric cancer; survivors

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