Social Challenges for Kids Who Survive Cancer
Extra Effort to Build Self-Esteem, Academic Abilities, Social Skills May Help
Sept. 12, 2005 -- Childhood cancer survivors may fare better academically
and socially with some extra help.
Three key areas stand out: the child's self-esteem, social skills, and
educational abilities. That's according to a study by Maru Barrera, PhD, and
Barrera works at the University of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. The
study appears in Cancer.
More Childhood Cancer Survivors
Medical advances are helping more kids survive cancer. Researchers want to
know how those children fare later on and what helps them thrive.
Barrera and colleagues studied 800 childhood cancer survivors and 923
children of the same age who hadn't had cancer. The children were 17 years old
or younger. Cancer survivors had lived for at least five years after their
Barrera didn't talk to the childhood cancer survivors. Instead, surveys were
mailed to the children's parents. Topics included school, friends, and
Most Kids Fine
The parents' responses showed that most of the childhood cancer survivors
were doing fine at school and with friends.
However, childhood cancer survivors had more academic and social problems
than kids who had never had cancer, according to the parents' reports.
Academic, Social Findings
The academic findings include:
Cancer Type, Treatments
The researchers also noted cancer type and cancer treatments.
Survivors of brain cancers were the most likely to reportedly have
educational problems and no close friends. They were followed by survivors of
Brain radiation was linked to a higher chance of having educational problems
and no close friends, write the researchers.
Childhood cancer survivors with high self-esteem tended to do better at
school and with friends than those with lower self-esteem, the parents' surveys
"Survivors who reportedly had high self-esteem and whose parents had
postsecondary education had fewer educational and social problems," write
They call for future studies that include childhood cancer survivors' report
cards, teachers, and peers, as well as the kids' parents. Such studies could
add more information about how young cancer survivors are doing, the