Adolescent leukemia: survivors face challenges resuming school

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Takeaway

  • An unmet need exists for interventions/programs to help caregivers/healthcare providers support survivors of adolescent leukemia in readapting to school life after treatment ends.

Why this matters

  • 65% to 75% of survivors of childhood cancer experience late physical and emotional effects after cancer therapy.

Study design

  • Qualitative study to investigate challenges faced by survivors of adolescent leukemia (n=14) on returning to school.
  • Funding: Korean Ministry of Education.

Key results

  • In general, survivors experienced difficulties in initiating/rekindling relationships with friends at school and harbored perceptions that their treatment-associated physical changes made them appear different to others; excessive concern/special treatment from others further affected feelings of being different.
  • 5 categories of difficulties were identified among adolescent leukemia survivors: feelings of alienation from friends, difficulty in studying, stuck being different from others, apologetic feelings for family, and feelings of having an uncertain future.

Limitations

  • Korean study; findings may not necessarily be extrapolated to other populations.