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Survivors of childhood cancers 4 times more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder
Date:5/3/2010

ts. Additionally, the improved supportive care available today may result in fewer physical and cognitive late effects from treatment.

The survivors in Stuber's study often underwent far harsher treatment regimens commonly used in the 1970s and early 1980s, and within the group studied, those that underwent the more toxic and damaging therapies reported more cases of PTSD.

Another possible reason that more of the young adults reported PTSD symptoms is because they're facing the stressful situations typical for people at that age finding a job, getting married, starting a family. That stress may exacerbate the PTSD, Stuber said.

"It may be that symptoms, clinical distress and functional impairment only emerge among the more vulnerable childhood cancer survivors as they contend with the developmental tasks of young adulthood and the added challenges of the late effects of treatment," the study states. "The relative protection of the parental home is diminished as young adult survivors face the challenges of completing their education, finding a job, getting health insurance, establishing long-lasting intimate relationships and starting a family."

And because many of the patients in the study underwent harsh therapies, they often suffer from significant late effects infertility, cognitive impairment, stunted growth. This add to stress levels as well. Those that suffer from cognitive impairment may find it impossible to go to college or to land a good job that earns them an adequate income.

"These survivors may find that can't get health insurance. They may be reluctant to put themselves on the marriage market because they're sterile. Those that can have children may be afraid of passing their 'bad genes' onto their children. Some treatments affect growth, so some survivors may be shorter and heavier than their peers," Stuber said. "They may feel like they're damaged goods."

Treatment options such as therapy a
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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