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Awareness weeks guide

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
September 2023


Seventy per cent of Australians are unaware that more kids die from cancer than any other disease in this country. With awareness, comes support. Government funding only stretches so far so it is vital the community step up to help fund the scientific research so urgently needed. The Kids cancer project

Types of children’s cancers
The most common types of cancers that happen in children are different from those seen in adults. (Cancer council)


Cochrane Library


Mental health








Mental Health

Prevalence and risk of psychological distress, anxiety and depression in adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors: A systematic review and meta-analysis
This research found that one in three AYA-CS experience psychological distress or anxiety and one in four are affected by depression, highlighting the need for specialized psychological services for AYA-CS in oncology settings and AYA-focused interventions. Cancer medicine 10 August 2023

Mental health patient-reported outcomes among adolescents and young adult cancer survivors: A systematic review
The mental health outcomes feature conflicting results and illustrate the need for larger studies to characterise discrepancies. Cancer medicine 18 August 2023

Social isolation and social connectedness among young adult cancer survivors: A systematic review
This growing literature underscores the relevance of social isolation and connectedness as important health determinants among YA cancer survivors. The identified risk and protective factors can identify YAs who especially may benefit from screening for social isolation. Future studies are needed that directly, reliably, and validly evaluate social isolation and connectedness to inform the development of interventions to decrease isolation and increase connectedness. Cancer 25 July 2023



Parent perceptions of pediatric oncology care during the COVID-19 pandemic: An Australian study
Understanding patient and family experiences of pediatric oncology care across international contexts during the pandemic is important to inform present and future health care responses. In the Australian context of low infection rates and strict community restrictions, parents perceived their child's oncology care to be relatively unaffected. However, findings indicate that family well-being was impacted, which warrants further investigation. Pediatric blood & cancer 9 October 2021

Internet-administered, low-intensity cognitive behavioral therapy for parents of children treated for cancer: A feasibility trial (ENGAGE)
Findings suggest an internet-administered, guided, low-intensity cognitive behavioral therapy-based (LICBT) self-help intervention may represent a feasible and acceptable solution for parents of children treated for cancer. With minor study protocol and intervention modifications, progression to a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) and subsequent superiority RCT is warranted. Cancer medicine 20 November 2022

‘Like ships in the night’: A qualitative investigation of the impact of childhood cancer on parents’ emotional and sexual intimacy
Parents reported that childhood cancer had a negative impact on aspects of emotional and sexual intimacy, although relationship strengthening was also evident. It is important to identify and offer support to couples who experience ongoing relationship stress, which may have adverse effects on family functioning and psychological wellbeing into survivorship. Pediatric blood & cancer 6 October 2022

Location of end-of-life care of children with cancer: A systematic review of parent experiences
This review included 15 studies of 460 parents of 333 children and adolescents who died from progressive cancer. Where reported, the majority (58%) of children died at home or in a hospital (39%), with only a small fraction dying in a hospice. Factors impacting decision-making for the location of care included the quality of communication and the quality of care available. Themes related to choosing home for end-of-life care and death included honoring the child's wishes, the familiarity of home, and parents’ desire to be their child's primary carer. Preference for the location of death in the hospital included trust in hospital staff, practical logistics, and the safety of the hospital environment. Pediatric blood & cancer 16 March 2022

Long-term parental distress after pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for nonmalignant diseases
Overall, parental distress and everyday problems of parents of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)  recipients are comparable to those of parents of children with chronic condition (CC). However, there is ongoing parental burden, both emotional and in parenting, long-term after HSCT compared to parents of healthy children, and the type of burden differs between mothers and fathers. These results indicate that individualized parental supportive care should not remain restricted to the acute hospitalization phase, but also be actively offered during long-term follow-up after pediatric HSCT. Pediatric blood & cancer 28 August 2023



The growing prevalence of childhood cancer survivors in Australia
Survivors of childhood cancer have an increased risk of long-term health issues arising mostly from the side effects of treatment. Using population-based data from the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR) for children aged 0–14 at diagnosis between 1983 and 2018, there were a total of 17,468 prevalent cases of childhood cancer survivors on 31 December 2018. The authors also found an 80% increase in the number of 5-year prevalent cases, from 1979 in 1988 to 3566 in 2018. Both short- and long-term prevalence estimates are important for monitoring childhood cancer survivorship and planning for the specific needs of this expanding cohort. Pediatric blood & cancer 24 April 2023

An analysis of the resource use and costs of febrile neutropenia events in pediatric cancer patients in Australia
The Febrile neutropenia (FN) costs are driven by in-hospital admission and length of stay (LOS). This suggests that the outpatient management of low-risk patients is likely to reduce the in-hospital cost of treating an FN event. Further research will determine if shifting the cost to the outpatient setting remains cost-effective overall. Pediatric blood & cancer 17 August 2023

Ethical challenges faced by healthcare workers in pediatric oncology care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia
The findings show that many staff felt unease at the disruptions in patient care due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some healthcare professionals (HCPs) indicated a degree of moral distress, with a possibility of moral injury among some HCPs. A focus on ethical recovery could assist in preventing any ongoing difficulties among HCPs because of their experiences. Pediatric blood & cancer 30 November 2022

Quality criteria for pediatric oncology centers: A systematic literature review
These results provide a comprehensive overview of existing quality criteria for pediatric oncology in countries with highly developed health-care systems. These criteria can serve as a basis to develop national quality criteria in pediatric oncology. Cancer medicine 16 August 2023

Hospitalizations in Australian children with neuroblastoma: A population-based study
The burden of health problems requiring hospitalization among neuroblastoma survivors results in significant associated healthcare costs, warranting further efforts to optimize health care for neuroblastoma survivors that focuses on early intervention and long-term monitoring. Cancer medicine 31 March 2023

Disparities in pediatric cancer survivorship care: A systematic review
The authors found strong empirical evidence of disparities in survivorship care for Childhood cancer survivors (CCS)  associated with race, ethnicity, and insurance status. Multiple other disparate groups, such as those by employment, income, insurance type, education, cancer diagnosis, age at diagnosis, time since diagnosis, cancer treatment, geographic area, sex, and self-identified gender warrant further investigation. Prospective, multilevel research is needed to examine the role of other patient characteristics as potential disparities hindering adequate survivorship care in CCS. Cancer medicine 8 August 2023

Measuring what gets done: Using goal attainment scaling in a vocational counseling program for survivors of childhood cancer
The School and Work Transitions Program (SWTP)  assists childhood cancer survivors in realizing their academic and vocational goals. Application of Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) in this setting is a feasible way to evaluate program outcomes. From the volume and breadth of the GAS goals set and achieved, the overall success of the SWTP appears strong. Cancer medicine 12 February 2023

Assessment of proxy-reported responses as predictors of motor and sensory peripheral neuropathy in children with B-lymphoblastic leukemia
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a common condition in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, can be challenging to diagnose. Using data from Children's Oncology Group AALL0932 physical function study, the authors sought to determine if parent/guardian proxy-reported responses from the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument could identify children with motor or sensory CIPN diagnosed by physical/occupational therapists (PT/OT). Pediatric blood & cancer 17 August 2023

The course of health-related quality of life after the diagnosis of childhood cancer: a national cohort study
The health-related quality of life (HRQOL) course presented can aid in identifying children who have not fully recovered their HRQOL following cancer diagnosis, enabling early recognition of the issue. Future research should focus on ways to support children, especially those with a CNS tumor, for example by decreasing distress in their caregivers. BMC cancer 11 September 2023

Fertility preservation in children and adolescents during Oncological treatment—A review of healthcare system factors and attitudes of patients and their caregivers
Oncofertility refers to medical interventions aimed at preserving the fertility of cancer patients, particularly those undergoing treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy that can harm reproductive cells. This literature review focuses on oncofertility in pediatric and adolescent populations, a relatively niche area with limited research compared to adults. The review examines the methods used, financing, ethical considerations, and the perspectives of patients and their parents. Cancers 2 September 2023



Effectiveness of applying finger handheld relaxation technique on pain intensity and fatigue among children undergoing chemotherapy
The results of the present study concluded that children who received the finger handheld relaxation technique exhibited less pain and fatigue compared to children who did not receive it. Recommendations: The finger handheld relaxation technique should be integrated into the care of children undergoing chemotherapy to help reduce pain intensity and fatigue. Egyptian journal of health care 19 August 2023

Cortisol response in children with cancer and fever during chemotherapy: A prospective, observational study using random serum cortisol levels
The incidence of an impaired hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in pediatric cancer patients might be underestimated since 69% of the children in our study had a low cortisol response (LCR)  during fever. Intake of dexamethasone, posaconazole and a time period of ≤7 days from the last glucocorticoid intake were additional risk factors for an LCR. However, we could not confirm that patients with a LCR fared worse than patients with a high cortisol response (HCR). Therefore, a different cortisol threshold may be necessary for defining an impaired HPA axis in febrile oncologic patients without concomitant symptoms of AI. Cancer medicine 3 February 2023

Therapeutic exposures and pubertal testicular dysfunction are associated with adulthood milestones and paternity after childhood cancer
Plain Language Summary

  • Treatment with intensive therapies, including hematopoietic stem cell therapy, testicular radiation dose >6 Gy, and signs of testicular dysfunction, during puberty are important risk factors for lower rates of fertility.
  • Intensive therapies and testicular dysfunction itself do not similarly hamper psychosocial milestones in adulthood; cancer diagnosis at a very young age (<4 years) lower the probability of marriage.
  • This study accentuates the importance of monitoring of pubertal development, emphasizing on testicular function, not only sperm analysis, to estimate future fertility among male childhood cancer survivors.

Cancer 8 August 2023

Longitudinal development of fatigue after treatment for childhood cancer: a national cohort study
Children and adolescents treated for central nervous system-tumors (CNS)-tumors reported more fatigue than other participants after the end of treatment, and this difference remained over time. Results from this study may help to facilitate the early recognition of children with insufficient recovery of fatigue symptoms. Acta oncologica 7 September 2023



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