A new study reveals that pediatric neuroblastoma patients are at elevated risk for long-term psychological impairment. In addition, those who experience such impairment as they get older tend to require special education services and to not go on to college. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
In the United States, neuroblastoma–a childhood cancer of nerve cells–is diagnosed at a median age of 17.3 months. Treatment advances in recent years have prolonged survival for many affected children, but their young age at diagnosis and the specific therapies they receive can make them vulnerable to health problems as their central nervous system develops.
To assess the long-term psychological effects of neuroblastoma and its treatment, Nina Kadan-Lottick, MD, MSPH, of Yale University School of Medicine and her colleagues studied 859 children who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma at least five years earlier and were under 18 years old. Their median age at diagnosis was 0.8 years, and they were followed for a median of 13.3 years. These 859 neuroblastoma survivors were compared with 872 siblings of childhood cancer survivors.
Compared with siblings, neuroblastoma survivors had an increased prevalence of impairment in the
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