“A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, and a significant number of children of cancer patients may be at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. A new analysis published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, suggests that family dysfunction may increase a child’s risk of experiencing such problems after learning of a parent’s illness.
“Approximately 21% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients are between the ages of 25 and 54 years, and many may have dependent children living with them at home. While most children and adolescents cope well with a parent’s illness, some can become highly distressed or develop psychosocial issues. Therefore, it is important to know which factors may affect a children’s adjustment to a parent’s cancer diagnosis and to develop specific screening tools and healthcare programs for children who may go on to experience problems.”