PHILADELPHIA Childhood cancer survivors typically suffer from the long-term effects of cancer treatment on physical health, and results of a new study suggest that social implications also exist, which may affect their chance of an "I do" at the altar.
Survivors are 20 to 25 percent more likely "to never marry" compared with siblings and the general population, according to findings published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"Many childhood cancer survivors still struggle to fully participate in our society because of the lasting cognitive and physical effects of their past cancer therapy," said lead researcher Nina S. Kadan-Lottick, M.D., M.S.P.H., assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, and medical director of the Health Education, Research & Outcomes for Survivors (HEROS) Clinic for childhood cancer survivors.
Using data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, a retrospective cohort of more than 10,000 childhood cancer survivors (who are now adults) treated at 26 institutions around the country, Kadan-Lottick and colleagues evaluated the frequency of marriage and divorce rates among survivors compared with their sibling group and U.S. Census data. The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is an ongoing study funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers distributed surveys to participants to determine late outcomes of therapy, medical problems, subsequent cancers, psychosocial functioning and other aspects of survivorship, according to the researchers. They identified patients and treatment factors that may predict marital status, including psychosocial distress and neurocognitive impairment.
"Our study pinpointed what aspects of the survivor experience likely contribute to altered marriage patterns: short stature, poor physical functioning and cognitive problems," said Kadan-Lottick. "These con
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American Association for Cancer Research