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Quality of life in children newly diagnosed with cancer and their mothers

Eiser, C., Eiser, J.R. and Stride, C.B. (2005) Quality of life in children newly diagnosed with cancer and their mothers. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 3 (29). ISSN 1477-7525

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Abstract

Background

With current treatments, approximately 75% of children diagnosed with cancer can expect to achieve disease-free survival. However, treatments are complex and aggressive, potentially compromising QOL for children and their parents. Although previous work has shown increased anxiety and depression among parents after diagnosis, the recent development of standardised measures of QOL enables us to look more directly at the impact of diagnosis on mothers' and children's QOL. The aims of this study are to i) describe QOL for children and their mothers after diagnosis by comparing their scores with population norms, ii) explore the relationship between mothers' worries about the illness and their QOL, and iii) determine the relationship between mothers ratings of their own QOL and their child.

Method

A total of 87 families took part, constituting 60% of those eligible. The children included 58 males and 29 females aged between 2 years 6 months to 16 years 3 months (mean = 7 years, median = 5 years 8 months). Diagnoses were acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL, n = 57), brain tumours (n = 11), bone tumours (n = 17) and 2 rare cancers. Mothers completed questionnaires about their own and the child's QOL.

Results

Mothers' reported their own and the child's QOL to be significantly lower than population norms. There were significant correlations between mothers' worries and their own and their ratings of the child's QOL and mothers' ratings of their own QOL correlated with their ratings of the child's QOL.

Conclusion

Both children and their mothers experience significantly compromised QOL in the months following diagnosis. Mothers who rated their own QOL to be poor also rate their child's QOL to be low. These results suggest caution is required where mothers rate their child's QOL. Efforts must continue to be made to improve QOL of children especially in the period immediately following diagnosis.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2005 Eiser et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: childhood, cancer, quality of life, proxy ratings
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 06:47
Published Version: http://www.hqlo.com/content/3/1/29
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1186/1477-7525-3-29
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1087

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