Cancer is the second leading cause of death for children, and leukemias are the most common pediatric cancer diagnoses in Chile.
The Psychosocial Burden of Families with Childhood Blood Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death for children, and leukemias are the most common pediatric cancer diagnoses in Chile. Childhood cancer is a traumatic experience and is associated with distress, pain, and other negative experiences for patients and their families. Thus, psychosocial costs represent a large part of the overall burden of cancer. This study examines psychosocial experiences in a sample of 90 families of children with blood-related cancer in Chile. We provide a global overview of the family experience, focusing on patients, caregivers, and siblings. We find that most families report a negative impact upon diagnosis; disruptions in family dynamics; a range of negative feelings of the patient, such as depression, discouragement, and irritability; and difficulty with social lives. Additionally, they report negative effects in the relationship between the siblings of the patient and their parents, and within their caregivers’ spouse/partner relationship, as well as a worsening of the economic condition of the primary caregiver. Furthermore, over half of the families in the sample had to move due to diagnosis and/or treatment. Promoting interventions that can help patients, siblings, and parents cope with distress and promote resilience and well-being are important.