Infectious Disease

Pediatric cancer survivors are at increased risk of developing psychiatric illness

December 03, 2021

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Frederiksen and colleagues do not report any relevant financial information.

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Childhood cancer survivors had an increased risk of long-term psychiatric disorders compared to their siblings or peers, according to a register-based cohort study.

“Substantial improvements in childhood cancer treatment and survival over the past five decades, with the 5-year survival rate currently exceeding 80% in most European countries and North America, have resulted in an ever increasing number of childhood cancer survivors guided.” Line Elmerdahl Frederiksen, PhD, from the Research Center of the Danish Cancer Society, and colleagues wrote in Lancet Psychiatry. “However, people with childhood cancer may have a lifelong higher risk of health problems and socio-economic challenges than their peers. Although many survivors generally get along well, it has been shown that overall survivors are exposed to an increased risk of various somatic sequelae. ”

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The researchers analyzed data from more than 18,000 5-year childhood cancer survivors diagnosed before age 20 between January 1, 1974 and December 31, 2011 in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. They compared survivors (n = 18,621; 53.3% boys) with their siblings (n = 24,775; 50.8% boys) and randomly selected controls (n = 88,630; 53.4% ​​boys) from the general population who were the survivors year, gender and geographic region were assigned based on their birth. They tracked participants from age 5 of diagnosis or index date for matched individuals through August 11, 2017. They also examined data on hospital contacts for any and specific psychiatric disorders. They defined the index date for siblings as 5 years after the date they were the same age as their surviving sibling when they were diagnosed with cancer.

The results showed a cumulative proportion of psychiatric contacts aged 30 years between January 1, 1979 and August 11, 2017 of 15.9% (95% CI, 15.3–16.5) among childhood cancer survivors, age 14 % (95% CI, 13.5-14.5) for their siblings and 12.7% (95% CI, 12.4-12.9) for the matched individuals. The study also found that childhood cancer survivors were at a relatively higher risk of contact with a psychiatric hospital compared to their siblings (1.39%; 95% CI 1.31–1.48) and matched subjects (HR = 1 , 34; 95% CI 1.28-1.39). , with the risk of being 50 years old. Compared to their siblings and corresponding cohorts, the survivors had a higher exposure to recurrent psychiatric hospital contacts and had more hospital contacts for various psychiatric disorders.

“Childhood cancer survivors are at higher long-term risk of psychiatric disorders than their siblings and peers from the general population,” wrote Frederiksen and colleagues. “To improve mental health and overall quality of life after childhood cancer, survivor care should focus on the early signs of mental health problems, especially among high-risk survivors.”

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