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Parents, Doctors of Childhood Cancer Survivors Studied

-- Jeff Muise

Monday, January 4, 2010

MONDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Many pediatric oncologists are not comfortable with their older patients who survived childhood cancer, nor well informed on guidelines for long-term follow-up care, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. According to another study in the same issue, the stress of a child having cancer does not increase the risk of the parents divorcing.

Tara O. Henderson, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues surveyed pediatric oncologists, 655 of whom responded. Respondents said they were most comfortable with childhood cancer survivors age 21 years and younger, less comfortable with those 21 to 29, and most uncomfortable with those 30 and over. Also, 24 to 43 percent of respondents incorrectly answered questions on long-term care in response to a clinical vignette.

In another study, Astri Syse, Ph.D., of the Cancer Registry of Norway in Oslo, and colleagues analyzed nationwide data on married couples who had children (up to 20 years of age) during 1974 to 2001. The researchers found divorce rates did not significantly differ for parents of children with common cancers compared to the overall divorce rate. There was an increased divorce rate for couples in which the mother had education beyond high school (odds ratio, 1.16).

"In conclusion, this large, methodologically rigorous, registry-based study has shown that -- contrary to existing myths -- cancer in children is not associated with an increased parental divorce rate. Possible negative long-term effects on the parents appear to be balanced by a strengthening of parental bonds. An exception appears to exist for couples with highly educated mothers," Syse and colleagues write.

Abstract - Henderson
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Abstract - Syse
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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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