The majority of adult survivors of childhood cancer are relatively healthy, however, a significant subset of survivors report psychological and social difficulties 1, 2.
Cancer and cancer treatment during childhood and adolescence take place during the formative development of organ systems, cognition, emotions, and life experiences. Thus, these survivors are vulnerable to disruptions in normal psychosocial development.
Psychological and social late effects are often undetectable at the end of treatment but become evident as children mature, grow and age.
Survivors at highest risk for poor psychosocial outcomes include:
- CNS tumour survivors
- Survivors treated with cranial radiation therapy
- Survivors who were younger at diagnosis
- Survivors who experienced prior traumatic events
- Survivors whose parents have a history of depression or anxiety
Adult survivors of childhood cancer are very likely to benefit from psychosocial assessments and targeted interventions as part of long-term follow-up care.