Childhood cancer survivors are at increased risk for adverse outcomes and chronic medical conditions. Treatment-related scarring, disfigurement, and persistent hair loss, in addition to their long-term impact on psychological distress or health-related quality of life (HRQOL), have received little attention.
Patients and Methods
Self-reported scarring/disfigurement and persistent hair loss were examined in 14,358 survivors and 4,023 siblings from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Multivariable models were used to examine associations with demographic and cancer treatment. The impact of disfigurement and hair loss on HRQOL (ie, Medical Outcomes Short Form–36) and emotional distress (ie, Brief Symptom Inventory–18) was examined.
Survivors reported a significantly higher rate of scarring/disfigurement compared with siblings for head/neck (25.1% v 8.4%), arms/legs (18.2% v 10.2%), and chest/abdomen (38.1% v 9.1%), as well as hair loss (14.0% v 6.3%). In age-, sex-, and race-adjusted models, cranial radiation exposure ≥ 36 Gy increased risk for head/neck disfigurement (relative risk [RR], 2.42; 95% CI, 2.22 to 2.65) and hair loss (RR, 4.24; 95% CI, 3.63 to 4.95). Adjusting for cranial radiation, age, sex, race, education, and marital status, survivor hair loss increased risk of anxiety (RR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.23 to 2.07), whereas head/neck disfigurement increased risk of depression (RR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.41). Limitations due to emotional symptoms were associated with head/neck disfigurement (RR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.41), arm/leg disfigurement (RR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.35), and hair loss (RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.47).
Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk for disfigurement and persistent hair loss, which is associated with future emotional distress and reduced quality of life. Future studies are needed to better identify and manage functional outcomes in these patients.
To identify risk factors for adverse psychological outcomes among adult siblings of long-term survivors of childhood cancer.
Cross-sectional, self-report data from 3,083 adult siblings (mean age 29 years, range 18-56 years) of 5+ year survivors of childhood cancer were analyzed to assess psychological outcomes as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Sociodemographic and health data, reported by both the siblings and their matched cancer survivors were explored as risk factors for adverse sibling psychological outcomes through multivariable logistic regression.
Self-reported symptoms of psychological distress, as measured by the global severity index of the BSI-18, were reported by 3.8% of the sibling sample. Less than 1.5% of siblings reported elevated scores on two or more of the subscales of the BSI-18. Risk factors for sibling depression included having a survivor brother (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.42-3.55), and having a survivor with impaired general health (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.18-3.78). Siblings who were younger than the survivor reported increased global psychological distress (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.05-3.12), as did siblings of survivors reporting global psychological distress (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.08-4.59). Siblings of sarcoma survivors reported more somatization than did siblings of leukemia survivors (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.05-3.98).
These findings suggest that siblings of long-term childhood cancer survivors are psychologically healthy in general. There are, however, small subgroups of siblings at risk for long-term psychological impairment who may benefit from preventive risk-reduction strategies during childhood while their sibling with cancer is undergoing treatment.
Studies of sexuality or sexual behavior in childhood cancer survivors tend to examine relationships or achievement of developmental milestones but not physiological response to cancer or treatment. The purpose of this study is to (1) identify prevalence and risk factors for sexual dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors, and (2) examine the extent to which sexual dysfunction may be associated with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and psychosocial outcomes.
Five hundred ninety-nine survivors age 18-39 years completed standardized measures of sexual functioning, HRQOL, psychological distress and life satisfaction. Descriptive statistics assessed prevalence of sexual symptoms. Bivariate analyses identified correlates of sexual symptoms and examined associations between symptoms and HRQOL/psychosocial outcomes.
Most survivors appear to be doing well, although 52% of female survivors and 32% of male survivors reported at least “a little of a problem” in one or more areas of sexual functioning. Mean symptom score for females was more than twice that of males. Sexual symptoms were associated with reporting health problems. Significant associations between sexual functioning and HRQOL outcomes were observed, with gender differences in strengths of association suggesting that males find sexual symptoms more distressing than do females.
While most survivors appear to be doing well in this important life domain, some young adult survivors report sexual concerns. While female survivors may report more sexual symptoms than male survivors, males may experience more distress associated with sexual difficulties. Better specified measures of sexual function, behavior and outcomes are needed for this young adult population.
Sexual functioning; cancer survivor; childhood cancer; quality of life; psychosocial; gender
Osteosarcoma survivors have received significant chemotherapy and have undergone substantial surgeries. Their very long term outcomes (20 year) are reported here.
We assessed the long-term outcomes of 733 five-year survivors of childhood osteosarcoma diagnosed from 1970-1986 to provide a comprehensive evaluation of medical and psychosocial outcomes for survivors enrolled on the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). Outcomes evaluated included overall survival, second malignant neoplasms (SMNs), recurrent osteosarcoma, chronic health conditions, health status(general and mental health and functional limitations), and psycho-social factors. Outcomes of osteosarcoma survivors were compared to general-population statistics, other CCSS survivors, and CCSS siblings.
Survivors had a mean follow-up of 21.6 years. The overall survival of children diagnosed with osteosarcoma who survived 5-years at 20 years from original diagnosis was 88.6% (95% CI: 86.6-90.5%). The cumulative incidence of SMNs at 25 years was 5.4% with a Standardized Incidence Ratio of 4.79 (95% CI: 3.54-6.33, p<0.01). Overall, 86.9% of osteosarcoma survivors experienced at least one chronic medical condition and over 50% experienced two or more conditions. Compared to survivors of other cancers, osteosarcoma survivors did not differ in their reported general health status (OR=0.9, 95% CI: 0.7-1.2), but were more likely to report an adverse health status in at least one domain (OR=1.9, 95% CI: 1.6-2.2) with activity limitations (29.1%) being the most common.
Childhood osteosarcoma survivors in this cohort did relatively well considering their extensive treatment; but are at risk to experience chronic medical conditions and adverse health status. Survivors warrant life-long follow-up.
Osteosarcoma; childhood cancer; survivorship; outcomes; bone sarcoma
Psychological or neurocognitive impairment is often seen in medulloblastoma survivors after craniospinal radiation; however, significant variability in outcomes exists. This study investigated the role of antioxidant enzyme polymorphisms in moderating this outcome and hypothesized that patients who had polymorphisms associated with lower antioxidant enzyme function would have a higher occurrence of impairment. From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) cohort, 109 medulloblastoma survivors and 143 siblings were identified who completed the CCSS Neurocognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) and who provided buccal DNA samples. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allelic discrimination was used for SOD2 (rs4880), GPX1 (rs1050450), and GSTP1 (rs1695 and rs1138272) genotyping and PCR for GSTM1 and GSTT1 gene deletions. Outcomes on NCQ and BSI-18 subscale scores were examined in association with genotypes and clinical factors, including age at diagnosis, sex, and radiation dose, using univariate and multivariate analysis of variance. Patients <7 years of age at diagnosis displayed more problems with task efficiency (P < .001) and fewer problems with somatic complaints (P = .004) than did patients ≥7 years of age. Female patients reported more organization problems than did male patients (P = .02). Patients with homozygous GSTM1 gene deletion reported higher anxiety (mean null genotype = 47.3 ± 9.2, non-null = 43.9 ± 7.8; P = .04), more depression (null = 51.0 ± 9.8, non-null = 47.0 ± 9.4; P = .03), and more global distress (null = 50.2 ± 9.7, non-null = 45.2 ± 9.9; P = .01). All associations for the GSTM1 polymorphism remained statistically significant in a multivariate model controlling for age, sex, and radiation dose. Homozygous GSTM1 gene deletion was consistently associated with greater psychological distress in medulloblastoma survivors across multiple domains, suggesting that this genotype may predispose patients for increased emotional late effects.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study; glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms; medulloblastoma; neuropsychological impairment; radiation therapy
Childhood cancer survivors often experience complications related to cancer and its treatment that may adversely affect quality of life and increase the risk of premature death. The purpose of this manuscript is to review how data derived from Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) investigations have facilitated identification of childhood cancer survivor populations at high risk for specific organ toxicity and secondary carcinogenesis and how this has informed clinical screening practices. Articles previously published that used the resource of the CCSS to identify risk factors for specific organ toxicity and subsequent cancers were reviewed and results summarized. CCSS investigations have characterized specific groups to be at highest risk of morbidity related to endocrine and reproductive dysfunction, pulmonary toxicity, cerebrovascular injury, neurologic and neurosensory sequelae, and subsequent neoplasms. Factors influencing risk for specific outcomes related to the individual survivor (eg, sex, race/ethnicity, age at diagnosis, attained age), sociodemographic status (eg, education, household income, health insurance) and cancer history (eg, diagnosis, treatment, time from diagnosis) have been consistently identified. These CCSS investigations that clarify risk for treatment complications related to specific treatment modalities, cumulative dose exposures, and sociodemographic factors identify profiles of survivors at high risk for cancer-related morbidity who deserve heightened surveillance to optimize outcomes after treatment for childhood cancer.
Chronic pelvic pain (persisting pain in hips, groins or lower back) is poorly described in studies of cervical cancer survivors (CCSs). The aims of this study were to describe chronic pelvic pain and associated variables in CCSs surveyed >5 years post-radiotherapy, and to compare the presence of pain in hips and lower back in CCSs with findings in the general female population.
Ninety-one CCSs treated with radiotherapy between 1994 and 1999 were in 2005 included in a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. They were asked about demographic variables, clinical symptoms, mental distress, and quality of life (QOL). Normative data (NORM) were collected from a population-study of Norwegian females.
Pain in lower back and hips was significantly more prevalent (p < .001) in CCSs compared to NORMs. 35/92 (38%) of the CCSs had chronic pelvic pain. These women had significantly lower QOL, higher levels of anxiety and depression and more bladder and intestinal problems than those without chronic pelvic pain. In a multivariable regression model, use of analgesics and intestinal and bladder problems were significantly associated with chronic pelvic pain in the CCSs.
CCSs have a higher prevalence of pain in lower back and hips than women in the general population, which might be due to late effects of radiation. 35/92 (38%) of the CCSs suffer from chronic pelvic pain, shown to be associated with high overall mental and somatic morbidity.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Evaluation and management of pelvic pain is important in follow-up of CCSs treated with radiotherapy.
Pelvic pain; Cervical cancer; Radiation therapy; Long-term survivors
Adult childhood cancer survivors report high levels of unemployment although it is unknown whether this is due to health or employability limitations.
We examined two employment outcomes from 2002–2005 in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS): 1. health-related unemployment and 2. unemployed but seeking work. We compared survivors to a nearest-age CCSS sibling cohort and examined demographic and treatment-related risk groups for each outcome.
We studied 6339 survivors and 2280 siblings aged ≥25 years excluding those unemployed by choice. Multivariable generalized linear models evaluated whether survivors were more likely to be unemployed than siblings and whether certain survivors were at a higher risk for unemployment.
Survivors (10.4%) reported health-related unemployment more often than siblings (1.8%; Relative Risk [RR] 6.07, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 4.32–8.53). Survivors (5.0%) were more likely to report being unemployed but seeking work than siblings (2.7%; RR 1.90, 95% CI 1.43–2.54). Health-related unemployment was more common in female survivors than males (Odds Ratio [OR] 1.73, 95% CI 1.43–2.08). Cranial radiotherapy doses ≥25 Gy were associated with higher odds of unemployment (health-related: OR 3.47, 95% CI 2.54–4.74; seeking work: OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.15–2.71). Unemployed survivors reported higher levels of poor physical functioning than employed survivors, and had lower education and income and were more likely to be publicly insured than unemployed siblings.
Childhood cancer survivors have higher levels of unemployment due to health or being between jobs. High-risk survivors may need vocational assistance.
Childhood cancer survivors exposed to CNS irradiation are at increased risk for neurocognitive deficits; however, limited data exist linking outcomes with region-specific exposure to CNS irradiation. We report associations between region-specific radiation dose and self-reported neurocognitive and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in 818 adult survivors of childhood central nervous system (CNS) malignancies from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Survivors were compared with a sibling group and national normative samples to calculate standardized scores. Cumulative radiation dose was calculated for 4 specific brain regions. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between radiation dose to specific brain regions and outcome measures of functional impairment adjusted for clinical and demographic factors, including sex and age at diagnosis. High radiation dose levels to temporal regions were associated with a higher risk for memory impairment (radiation doses ≥30 to <50 Gy: OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.01–3.78; dose ≥50 Gy: OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.25–4.39) compared with those with no radiation exposure. No such association was seen with radiation exposure to other regions. Exposure to temporal regions was associated with more social and general health problems, whereas exposure to frontal regions was associated with general health problems and physical performance limitations. Adult survivors of childhood CNS malignancies report higher rates of neuropsychological and HRQOL outcomes, which vary as a function of dose to specific neuroanatomical regions. Survivors with a history of radiation exposure to temporal brain regions are at increased risk for impairment in memory and social functioning.
CNS malignancies; Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS); health-related quality of life; neuropsychological functioning; radiation therapy
Childhood cancer survivors are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality. To further characterize this risk, this study aimed to compare the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in childhood cancer survivors and their siblings.
Participants included 8599 survivors in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a retrospectively ascertained North American cohort of long-term survivors who were diagnosed 1970–1986, and 2936 randomly selected siblings of CCSS survivors. The main outcome was self-reported DM.
Survivors and siblings had mean ages of 31.5 years (range, 17.0–54.1) and 33.4 years (range, 9.6–58.4), respectively. DM was reported in 2.5% of survivors and 1.7% of siblings. Adjusting for body mass index (BMI), age, sex, race/ethnicity, household income, and insurance, survivors were 1.8 times more likely to report DM (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3–2.5; P<0.001) than siblings, with survivors who received total body irradiation (odds ratio [OR], 12.6; 95% CI, 6.2–25.3; P<0.001), abdominal irradiation (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 2.3–5.0; P<0.001) and cranial irradiation (OR, 1.6; 95% CI 1.0–2.3; P=0.03) at increased risk. In adjusted models, increased risk of DM was associated with: total body irradiation (OR 7.2; 95% CI, 3.4–15.0; P<0.001); abdominal irradiation (OR 2.7; 95% CI, 1.9–3.8; P<0.001); alkylating agents (OR 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2–2.3; P<0.01); and younger age at diagnosis (0–4 years; OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.3–4.6; P<0.01).
Childhood cancer survivors treated with total body or abdominal irradiation have an increased risk of diabetes that appears unrelated to BMI or physical inactivity.
Childhood cancer survivor; diabetes mellitus; abdominal radiation; total body irradiation
The growing number of childhood cancer survivors makes examination of their current physical and mental health status and health behaviors an important concern. Much of what is known about the long-term outcomes of childhood cancer survivors comes from the Childhood Cancer Cohort Study (CCSS) which uses sibling controls.
Using data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, 651 childhood cancer survivors and 142,932 non-cancer peer controls were identified. The two groups were compared on a variety of physical and mental health status and health behavior variables using ANCOVA and binary logistic regression.
While controlling for differences in age, sex, and minority status, survivors significantly (p ≤0.001) had poorer socioeconomic outcomes, more comorbid conditions, lower life satisfaction, less social and emotional support, poorer general health, and reported more days per month of poor physical and mental health than non-cancer individuals. Survivors were more likely to report being a current smoker (odds ratio [OR] = 2.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.98 to 2.73; p<0.001); tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (OR = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.52 to 2.11; p<0.001); and that at least one HIV situation applied to them (OR = 2.06; 95% CI, 1.55 to 2.74; p<0.001). No significant differences were found between groups in regards alcohol use and diet.
Results support and extend previous findings reported by the CCSS. New findings regarding survivors’ increased likelihood to engage in risky behaviors proposes new directions for future research.
childhood cancer survivors; physical health; mental health; health behaviors
Difficulties with negotiating and achieving desired social outcomes in life may be exacerbated by the experience of childhood cancer, including adverse effects from therapies used to achieve a cure. This review of previous publications from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and other relevant literature provides insight into the prevalence of, and risk factors for, poor educational attainment, less than optimal employment status, and interpersonal relationship issues among long-term survivors of childhood cancer. The impacts of emotional health and physical disability on social outcomes are also examined. Study results suggest that childhood cancer survivors generally have similar high school graduation rates, but are more likely to require special education services than sibling comparison groups. Survivors are slightly less likely than expected to attend college, and are more likely to be unemployed and not married as young adults. Cancers and treatments that result in impairment to the CNS, particularly brain tumors, or that impact sensory functioning, such as hearing loss, are associated with greater risk for undesirable social outcomes, as are emotional health problems and physical disability. This review of relevant data from CCSS and other studies provides information on risk factors for social problems into adulthood. A greater understanding of the long-term social impacts from the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer is critically important for developing targeted interventions to prevent or ameliorate adverse psychosocial effects.
The purpose of this study was to compare adolescent and young adult (AYA) pediatric cancer survivors and peers without a history of serious illness on psychological distress, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), health beliefs; examine age at diagnosis and cancer treatment intensity on these outcomes; and examine relationships between number of health problems and the outcomes.
Patients and Methods
AYA cancer survivors (n = 167) and controls (n = 170), recruited during visits to a cancer survivorship clinic and primary care, completed self-report questionnaires of distress, health problems, and health beliefs. For survivors, providers rated treatment intensity and health problems.
There were no statistically significant differences between survivors and controls in psychological distress or HRQOL. Cancer survivors had less positive health beliefs. Survivors diagnosed as adolescents had significantly greater psychological distress and fewer positive health beliefs than those diagnosed earlier. Survivors with the highest level of treatment intensity had greater anxiety and fewer positive health beliefs than those with less intense treatments. Provider report of current health problems related to survivors' beliefs and mental HRQOL only, whereas patient report of health problems correlated significantly with most psychosocial outcomes and beliefs.
AYA cancer survivors did not differ from peers in psychological adjustment but did endorse less adaptive health beliefs. Survivors diagnosed during adolescence and who had more intensive cancer treatments evidenced poorer psychosocial outcomes. Beliefs about health may be identified and targeted for intervention to improve quality of life, particularly when patient perceptions of current health problems are considered.
Previous research from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) has shown that risk of skin cancer is strongly associated with exposure to radiation therapy. The potential role of ultraviolet radiation exposure in survivors has not been described.
The CCSS is a retrospective cohort study designed to investigate late effects among 5-year survivors of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer between 1970–1986. Data regarding current sun protection behavior were collected on 9,298 survivors and 2,950 sibling controls. Median age at follow-up was 31 years (range: 17–54).
In this cohort, childhood cancer survivors and siblings showed similar patterns of sunscreen use (67% vs. 66%). Survivors were significantly less likely to report having sunbathed in the previous year (none vs. any in previous year: RR=0.92, 95%CI=0.89–0.95) or use artificial tanning (none vs. any in previous year: RR=0.76, 95%CI=0.70–0.83). Compared to survivors without radiation therapy, survivors with radiation exposure showed increased use of sunscreen (RR=1.06, 95%CI=1.03–1.10), and less sunbathing (none vs. any in previous year; RR=0.89, 95%CI=0.86–0.92) or artificial tanning (none vs. any in previous year; RR=0.62, 95%CI=0.56–0.69). In adjusted multivariable analysis, statistically significant factors for regular sunscreen use in the past summer (vs. never/rarely) in the survivor population were being female, having lighter skin complexions, having previously been examined for skin cancer, and having skin that burned when in the sun unprotected.
Survivors of childhood cancer self-reported lower tanning practices than siblings. However, because of the potential increased risk of skin cancer from therapy-related exposures, future research should be directed at intervention studies to further reduce UV exposures.
Skin cancer; sun protection behaviors; survivor; radiation; siblings
It is not known to what extent prevalence estimates of late effects among childhood cancer survivors derived from clinic based samples represent the actual estimates that would be derived if the entire population of childhood cancer survivors was recruited and evaluated for a particular outcome.
In a large retrospective cohort study of childhood cancer survivors, the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), the prevalence of chronic health conditions among participants who reported being seen in a cancer center or long-term follow-up clinic was compared to the prevalence of chronic conditions in the entire cohort.
When compared to survivors who had no medical care in the previous two years, survivors accessing medical follow-up were significantly more likely to have chronic health conditions. Relative risks of reporting a chronic health condition were 1.4 (95% CI 1.3 – 1.5) if seen in a cancer center or long-term follow-up clinic and 1.2 (95% CI 1.1-1.3) if seen in a general medical care setting. Estimates derived from only those childhood cancer survivors who were seen in a cancer center or long term follow-up clinic overestimate the prevalence of any chronic disease by 9.3% (95% CI: 7.0-11.6%).
Applying chronic condition prevalence estimates from a clinical population to the general population of childhood cancer survivors must be undertaken with caution. Survivorship research must maintain a high level of scientific rigor to ensure that results reported in the literature are interpreted within the appropriate context.
Few studies have examined risk factors for smoking among adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. The present study reports on the rate of smoking and identifies factors associated with smoking in a sample of adolescent survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS).
Participants included 307 adolescent survivors and 97 healthy siblings (ages 14-20) who completed a self-report survey of health, quality of life, and health behaviors.
Smoking rates did not differ significantly between survivor and sibling groups (Ever Smokers: 28% vs. 33%, Recent Smokers: 10% vs. 9%, respectively). Ever smoking was significantly associated with peer smoking, smokers in the household, binging, suicidal behavior, and no history of CRT. There were significant interactions of peer smoking with gender and CRT for ever smoking and with binging for recent smoking. Recent smoking was more likely for survivors with other household smokers (RR=2.24, CI=1.21-4.16), past suicidality (RR=1.89, CI=1.00-3.56), and no CRT (RR=2.40, CI=1.12-5.17). Among survivors with few smoking friends, ever smoking was more likely for survivors with no CRT (RR=4.47, CI=1.43-13.9), and recent smoking was more likely among survivors who binged (RR=3.37, CI=1.17-9.71).
Despite the health risks associated with survivorship, nearly one in three adolescent survivors of childhood cancer has smoked. Exposure to other smokers, in particular, appears to increase the likelihood of smoking for some survivors. Providing smoking cessation programs targeted to family members, helping survivors choose nonsmoking friends, and teaching ways to resist smoking influences from peers may be important pathways for smoking prevention with adolescent survivors.
adolescents; childhood cancer; survivors; smoking
Approximately 80% of children currently survive 5 years following diagnosis of their cancer. Studies based on limited data have implicated certain cancer therapies in the development of ocular sequelae in these survivors.
The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) is a retrospective cohort study investigating health outcomes of 5+ year survivors diagnosed and treated between 1970 and 1986 compared to a sibling cohort. The baseline questionnaire included questions about the first occurrence of 6 ocular conditions. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated from responses of 14,362 survivors and 3,901 siblings.
Five or more years from the diagnosis, survivors were at increased risk of cataracts (RR:10.8; 95% CI: 6.2–18.9), glaucoma (RR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.1–5.7), legal blindness (RR: 2.6; 95% CI: 1.7–4.0), double vision (RR:4.1; 95% CI: 2.7–6.1), and dry eyes (RR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.6–2.4), when compared to siblings. Dose of radiation to the eye was significantly associated with risk of cataracts, legal blindness, double vision, and dry eyes, in a dose-dependent fashion. Risk of cataracts were also associated with radiation 3000+ cGy to the posterior fossa (RR: 8.4; 95% CI: 5.0–14.3), temporal lobe (RR: 9.4; 95% CI: 5.6–15.6), and exposure to prednisone (RR:2.3; 95% CI:.1.6–3.4)
Childhood cancer survivors are at risk of developing late occurring ocular complications, with exposure to glucocorticoids and cranial radiation being important determinants of increased risk. Long-term follow-up is needed to evaluate potential progression of ocular deficits and impact on quality of life.
late effects of cancer therapy; radiation therapy; chemotherapy
Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are often cured, but the therapies they receive may be neurotoxic. Little is known about the incidence and severity of late-occurring neurologic sequelae in ALL survivors. Data were analyzed to determine the incidence of adverse long-term neurologic outcomes and treatment-related risk factors.
Patients and Methods
We analyzed adverse neurologic outcomes that occurred after diagnosis in 4,151 adult survivors of childhood ALL who participated in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a retrospective cohort of 5-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed between 1970 and 1986. A randomly selected cohort of the survivors' siblings served as a comparison group. Self-reported auditory-vestibular-visual sensory deficits, focal neurologic dysfunction, seizures, and serious headaches were assessed.
The median age at outcome assessment was 20.2 years for survivors. The median follow-up time to death or last survey since ALL diagnosis was 14.1 years. Of the survivors, 64.5% received cranial radiation and 94% received intrathecal chemotherapy. Compared with the sibling cohort, survivors were at elevated risk for late-onset auditory-vestibular-visual sensory deficits (rate ratio [RR], 1.8; 95% CI, 1.5 to 2.2), coordination problems (RR, 4.1; 95% CI, 3.1 to 5.3), motor problems (RR, 5.0; 95% CI, 3.8 to 6.7), seizures (RR, 4.6; 95% CI, 3.4 to 6.2), and headaches (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 1.7). In multivariable analysis, relapse was the most influential factor that increased risk of late neurologic complications.
Children treated with regimens that include cranial radiation for ALL and those who suffer a relapse are at increased risk for late-onset neurologic sequelae.
Little attention has been paid to selecting and developing health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measurement tools for young adult survivors of childhood cancer (YASCC). The primary purpose of this study was to develop a HRQOL tool for YASCC based on three legacy instruments.
Data collected from 151 YASCC were analyzed. HRQOL was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36, Quality of Life in Adult Cancer Survivors, and Quality of Life-Cancer Survivor. We used the following stages to develop our HRQOL tool: mapping items from three instruments into a common HRQOL construct, checking dimensionality using confirmatory factor analyses (CFA), and equating items using Rasch modeling.
We assigned 123 items to a HRQOL construct comprised of six generic and eight survivor-specific domains. CFA retained 107 items that meet the assumptions of unidimensionality and local independence. Rasch analysis retained 68 items that satisfied the indices of information-weighted/outlier-sensitive fit statistic mean square. However, items in most domains possess relatively easy measurement properties, whereas YASCC’s underlying HRQOL was on the middle to higher levels.
Psychometric properties of the established tool for measuring HRQOL of YASCC were not satisfied. Future studies need to refine this tool, especially adding more challenging items.
Childhood cancer; measurement; quality of life; Rasch analysis; young adult survivor
Childhood cancer has long-term implications for survivors and their family members. While the impact of cancer on the family continues into adulthood, little research exists on family-related issues during this important developmental period. In order to advance our understanding of families of adolescent and young adult (AYA) childhood cancer survivors, a measure of health-related beliefs for parents of AYA cancer survivors was developed. Exploratory factor analysis based on the mothers' data was used to identify four factors among 23 items: Social Competence, Satisfaction with Healthcare, Health Perceptions, and Health Apprehension. The scales are associated with psychological distress, quality of life, and posttraumatic stress symptoms but unrelated to age of the child at diagnosis and cancer treatment intensity. The beliefs identified in this study are consistent with clinical observations of families of young adult survivors and provide indications for the importance of ongoing attention to the families of childhood cancer survivors.
beliefs; childhood cancer; survivors; families; parents; adolescents; young adults
Recent studies have found that a subset of young adult survivors of childhood cancer report posttraumatic stress symptoms in response to their diagnosis and treatment. However, it is unclear if these symptoms are associated with impairment in daily functions and/or significant distress, thereby resulting in a clinical disorder. Furthermore, it is unknown whether this disorder continues into very long-term survivorship, including the 3rd and 4th decades of life. This study hypothesized that very long-term survivors of childhood cancer would be more likely to report symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, with functional impairment and/or clinical distress, compared to a group of healthy siblings.
Patients and Methods
6,542 childhood cancer survivors over the age of 18 who were diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 and 368 siblings of cancer survivors completed a comprehensive demographic and health survey.
589 survivors (9%) and 8 siblings (2%) reported functional impairment and/or clinical distress in addition to the set of symptoms consistent with a full diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Survivors had more than a four-fold risk of PTSD compared to siblings (OR=4.14, 95%CI: 2.08-8.25). Controlling for demographic and treatment variables, increased risk of PTSD was associated with educational level of high school or less (OR=1.51, 95% CI=1.16-1.98), being unmarried (OR=1.99, 95% CI=1.58-2.50), annual income less than $20,000 (OR=1.63, 95% CI=1.21-2.20), and being unemployed (OR=2.01, 95% CI=1.62-2.51). Intensive treatment was also associated with increased risk of full PTSD (OR=1.36, 95% CI 1.06 -1.74).
Posttraumatic stress disorder is reported significantly more often by childhood cancer survivors than by sibling controls. Although most survivors are apparently doing well, a subset report significant impairment that may warrant targeted intervention.
childhood cancer; young adult
Although aggressive medical treatment protocols have led to 80% 5-year survival rates for most childhood cancers, many long-term survivors experience multiple troubling symptoms. Using data from 100 adult survivors of childhood cancers (ACC-survivors), we used latent variable mixture modeling to generate unique subgroups of survivors based on their experiences with a cluster of eight symptoms: lack of energy, worry, pain, difficulty sleeping, feeling irritable, feeling nervous, difficulty concentrating, and feeling sad (as measured by the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale). We also examined factors that were likely to predict subgroup membership (chronic health conditions, health-promoting lifestyle, and demographic variables) and determined the extent to which satisfaction with quality of life (QoL) varied across the subgroups. The final mixture model included three subgroups of ACC-survivors: high symptoms (HS) (n=21), moderate symptoms (MS) (n=45), and low symptoms (LS) (n=34). ACC-survivors who reported at least one chronic health condition were six times as likely to be classified in the HS subgroup as compared to the LS subgroup. Mean health-promoting lifestyle scores were lowest in the HS subgroup and highest in the LS subgroup. Differences in QoL among the subgroups were statistically significant, thus validating that the subgroups were characterized uniquely for identifying those symptoms with highest life impact. To our knowledge, we are the first to identify distinct subgroups of ACC-survivors differentiated by symptom cluster experience profiles. The findings warrant additional research to confirm the subgroup-specific symptom cluster experience profiles in larger studies of ACC-survivors.
Cancer; oncology; adult survivors of childhood cancers; symptom cluster; latent variable mixture models; quality of life
The 5-year survival rate for individuals with neuroblastoma is approaching 70%. Few data exist, however, on the long-term outcomes of these patients, who are often treated at a very young age.
Outcome data were obtained for 954 5-year neuroblastoma survivors who were diagnosed in 1970–1986 and enrolled in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). Late mortality, second malignant neoplasms, and chronic health conditions were analyzed in relation to treatment factors using Poisson regression models and their modification with generalized estimating equations. Neuroblastoma survivors were compared with a cohort of 3899 siblings of CCSS participants for risk of chronic health conditions and selected sociodemographic outcomes. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Six percent of patients died more than 5 years after their diagnosis (standardized mortality ratio = 5.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.4 to 6.9). The most common causes of death were disease recurrence (n = 43) and second malignant neoplasms (n = 13). The cumulative incidence of second malignant neoplasms was 3.5% at 25 years and 7.0% at 30 years after diagnosis. Compared with the sibling cohort, survivors had an increased risk of selected chronic health conditions (risk ratio [RR] = 8.3; 95% CI = 7.1 to 9.7) with a 20-year cumulative incidence of 41.1%. The most prevalent outcomes involved the neurological, sensory, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems, with 20-year cumulative incidences of 29.8%, 8.6%, 8.3%, and 7.8%, respectively. Neuroblastoma survivors who were treated with multimodality therapy were more likely to develop a chronic health condition than survivors treated with surgery alone (RR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.6 to 3.0). Neuroblastoma survivors were less likely than siblings to have ever been employed (P = .04) or to be married (P < .001) and had a lower personal income (P = .009).
Neuroblastoma survivors have an increased rate of mortality and second malignant neoplasms, relative to the age- and sex-comparable US population, and of chronic health conditions, relative to their siblings, which underscores the need for long-term medical surveillance.
The use of rehabilitation services to address musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular late effects among childhood cancer survivors could improve physical function and health-related quality-of-life (HRQL). We describe physical therapy (PT) and chiropractic utilization among childhood cancer survivors and their association with HRQL.
The sample included 5+ year survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (N=9,289). Questions addressing use of PT or chiropractic services and HRQL (Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF-36)) were evaluated. Multivariable regression models compared PT and/or chiropractic utilization between survivors and siblings, and by diagnosis, treatment and demographic characteristics; associations between chronic disease, PT/chiropractic use, and HRQL were similarly evaluated.
Survivors were not more likely to use PT (OR 1.0; 95% CI 0.8-1.2) or chiropractic (OR 0.8; 95% CI 0.7-1.0) services than siblings. More survivors reported using chiropractic (12.4%) than PT (9.2%) services. Older age and having health insurance were associated with utilization of either PT or chiropractic services. Grade 3-4 chronic conditions and a CNS tumor or sarcoma history were associated with PT but not with chiropractic service utilization. Survivors with musculoskeletal (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.1-2.9), neurological (OR 3.4; 95% CI 1.6-6.9), or cardiovascular (OR 3.3; 95% CI 1.6-6.9) chronic conditions who used PT/chiropractic services were more likely to report poor physical health than survivors who did not use services.
The reported prevalence of PT/chiropractic among survivors is consistent with that reported by siblings. Severity of late effects is associated with service use and with reporting poor physical health.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Long-term childhood cancer survivors do not appear to utilize rehabilitation services to optimize physical function and support increased HRQL.
Physical therapy; chiropractic; childhood cancer survivor; health related quality of life
This study was undertaken to determine the effect, if any, of treatment for cancer diagnosed during childhood or adolescence on fertility.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed the fertility of female participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), which consisted of 5-year survivors, and a cohort of randomly selected siblings who responded to a questionnaire. Medical records of all members of the cohort were abstracted to obtain chemotherapeutic agents administered; the cumulative dose of drug administered for several drugs of interest; and the doses, volumes, and dates of administration of all radiation therapy.
There were 5,149 female CCSS participants, and there were 1,441 female siblings of CCSS participants who were age 15 to 44 years. The relative risk (RR) for survivors of ever being pregnant was 0.81 (95% CI, 0.73 to 0.90; P < .001) compared with female siblings. In multivariate models among survivors only, those who received a hypothalamic/pituitary radiation dose ≥ 30 Gy (RR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.83) or an ovarian/uterine radiation dose greater than 5 Gy were less likely to have ever been pregnant (RR, 0.56 for 5 to 10 Gy; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.85; RR, 0.18 for > 10 Gy; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.26). Those with a summed alkylating agent dose (AAD) score of three or four or who were treated with lomustine or cyclophosphamide were less likely to have ever been pregnant.
This large study demonstrated that fertility is decreased among female CCSS participants. The risk factors identified may be utilized for pretreatment counseling of patients and their parents.