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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.

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


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.


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

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