The Impact of Cancer on Childhood Cancer Survivors' Psychosocial Well-Being and Health-Related Quality of Life

Thursday, 2 August 2012: 8:50 AM

Joyce Oi Kwan Chung, RN, BHS, MPH
School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Violeta Lopez, RN, PhD, FRCNA
Research Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Medical School, CMBE, Australian National University, Yamba Drive, Garran, 2605, ACT, Australia, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the impact of Cancer on childhood cancer survivorsí psychosocial well-being and health-related quality of Life

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand what is the most important indicator of the health-related quality of life of childhood cancer survivors

Purpose: Notwithstanding cancer survival rates are higher than before as a result of advances in cancer screening and breakthroughs in cancer treatment, childhood cancer survivors are at risk of adverse physical and psychosocial effects of the cancer treatment, severely affecting their quality of life. The purpose of the study was to shed light on the impact of cancer and its treatments on the psychosocial well-being and health-related quality of life of Hong Kong Chinese childhood cancer survivors.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was employed. A total of 137 childhood cancer survivors (9-16-year olds) who had their medical follow-up at the out-patient clinic were invited to participate in the study. Participants were asked to respond to the Chinese version of the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.

Results: This study showed that a significant number of childhood cancer survivors in Hong Kong were potentially at risk of depression, or at least presented some depressive symptoms. The study also indicated that greater symptomatology of depression in childhood cancer survivors was associated with lower self-esteem, and poor health-related quality of life. Additionally, results of multiple regression analysis revealed that depressive symptom is an important indicator of the health-related quality of life of childhood cancer survivors.

 Conclusion: This study has addressed a gap in the literature by examining the impact of cancer and its treatments on the psychosocial well-being of Hong Kong Chinese childhood cancer survivors. The study reveals that cancer and its treatments have great impact on the psychosocial well-being, in particular the health-related quality of life of childhood cancer survivors. It is essential for health care professionals to develop and evaluate appropriate interventions with the aims at promoting psychosocial well-being and health-related quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.