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Loneliness Risk Elevated Among Young Cancer Survivors

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Young adults who survive cancer are more likely than siblings without cancer to be lonely, resulting in emotional distress, risky behavior and new chronic illnesses, finds Large retrospective study suggestion.

Young cancer survivors were twice as likely to report loneliness at study baseline and follow-up. Loneliness during this period was associated with an almost 10-fold increased risk of anxiety and an almost 18-fold increased risk of anxiety. depression.

“We observed a higher prevalence of loneliness among survivors compared to sibling controls and found that loneliness was associated with emotional, behavioral, and physical health conditions.” The lead study author said. Dr. Chiara Papini, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and her colleagues write. “Our results highlight the importance of identifying and screening for loneliness in young adult survivors of childhood cancer and the need for targeted interventions to reduce loneliness.”

the article is publish online in a magazine earlier this month cancer.

Most young cancer survivors in the United States have reached adulthood and need to catch up. Make up for missed school or work, reconnect with old friends, and forge new friendships, social networks, and close relationships. can be hampered by social and psychosocial problems, which can make cancer survivors feel isolated.

“Young survivors of childhood cancer live through a developmental period characterized by heightened social expectations, during which loneliness can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health.

To better understand the risks of loneliness among young cancer survivors, Papini and her colleagues analyzed retrospective data. Childhood Cancer Survivor Studyfollowed young survivors diagnosed with various cancers before the age of 21.The study participant was treated at one of 31 research centers in North America and survived more than five years after diagnosis..

The 9664 survivors and 2221 randomized sibs ranged in age from 19 to 39 years at baseline and at approximately 6.6 years of follow-up to complete the survey assessing emotional distress. The median age of the survivor at baseline was 27 years, and he had passed a median of 17.5 years since diagnosis.

The most common diagnosis was leukemia (35%). Hodgkin lymphoma (15%), central nervous system (CNS) tumors (14%), and bone tumors (10%).More than half (56%) received radiotherapy.

Using a multivariate model, researchers found that survivors were more likely than siblings to report moderate to extreme loneliness at baseline or follow-up (prevalence) [PR]1.04) and were more than twice as likely to report loneliness at both baseline and follow-up (PR, 2.21).

Loneliness at baseline and follow-up was associated with a much higher risk of anxiety (relative risk [RR], 9.75) and depression (RR, 17.9). Loneliness only at follow-up was associated with an increased risk of suicidal ideation (RR, 1.52), heavy or hazardous alcohol consumption (RR, 1.27), and grade 2–4 new-onset chronic disease (RR, 1.29). was related. Neurological (RR, 4.37).

Survivors of central nervous system tumors (OR, 2.59) and leukemia (OR, 2.52) were most likely to report loneliness at both baseline and follow-up, whereas survivors of the other four cancer types also faced a higher risk of loneliness. neuroblastoma (OR, 2.32), bone tumors (OR, 2.12), soft tissue sarcoma (or 1.78), and Hodgkin lymphoma (or 1.69).

The type of treatment also appeared to be important. Survivors who underwent amputation (OR 1.82), or who were treated with cranial radiation therapy (OR 1.56) or corticosteroids (OR 1.31), compared with survivors who did not report loneliness They were more likely to report loneliness at line and at follow-up.

The authors acknowledge the limitations of this study, including the fact that approximately 90% of the survivors and siblings were Caucasian, limiting the applicability of the results to diverse groups. Additionally, responses were self-reported without external verification.

Overall, however, the findings provide a framework for clinicians to understand and identify loneliness in young cancer survivors, and help survivors deal with these feelings.

Dr. Rachel Moore

“The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study provides the largest and most comprehensive data set on childhood cancer survivors compared to healthy siblings, providing strong data on survivorship, sequelae, psychosocial and health outcomes. To do.” Dr. Rachel M. Moorea child psychologist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Missouri, said: Medscape Medical News on mail.

Asking a simple question—“Are you feeling lonely?”—identifies at-risk survivors and enables healthcare teams to provide timely interventions that address the physical and psychological needs of young patients You can do that, Moore said. Moore was not involved in this study.

In his own clinical practice, Moore notes, “Adolescent and young adult survivors frequently discuss loneliness in their daily lives. They feel different from their peers and misunderstood.” Having conversations early in the ship can help people worry about experiencing loneliness as a result of cancer treatment, opening the door to regular screenings and stigma removal in mental health services.”

Dr. Rusha Bhandari

Said it was important to support young people through their survivorship journey Dr. Rusha Bhandari, M.D., Medical Director of the Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Survivorship Program at City of Hope, Duarte, CA. The study will help ensure clinicians “provide comprehensive care, including psychosocial screening and support, to meet the unique needs of young adult survivors.”

The National Cancer Institute and the American Lebanese-Syrian Association Charity (ALSAC) supported this research. One of her co-authors reports receiving corporate consulting fees. Papini, the remaining coauthors, and Moore, Bhandari, and Hocking report no relevant financial involvement.

cancer. Published online on January 16, 2023. overview

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