14 Percent of Cancer Survivors Live With Minor Children

Researchers estimate nearly 1.6 million cancer survivors live with minor children nationwide
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Nationwide, an estimated 1.58 million cancer survivors live with their minor children, representing a large number of families who confront special challenges and may need additional support, according to research published online June 28 in Cancer.

Kathryn E. Weaver, Ph.D., of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data on 13,385 adult cancer survivors who participated in the United States National Health Interview Survey during 2000 to 2007.

The researchers found that 14 percent of all the cancer survivors and 18.3 percent of newly-diagnosed survivors live with one or more minor children (children younger than 18 years of age). These survivors generally were female (78.9 percent), married (69.8 percent), and under age 50 (85.8 percent). The children of survivors included 30.5 percent under 6 years old at their parent's diagnosis and 33.4 percent who were born after the diagnosis. Extrapolated nationally, this represents 1.58 million cancer survivors living with 2.85 million children. These children may experience emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral, and physical problems, which can contribute to the strain on parents/caregivers already facing cancer, the researchers write.

"Some promising interventions to help these families are currently in development. However, to ensure integrated, comprehensive care for these families in the future, examination is critically needed of clinical delivery systems that allow for the efficient and effective screening, referral, and follow-up of these families, and that work within, and leverage where possible, extant health care structure, reimbursement, and staffing constraints," the authors write.

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