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"There Is No Before Cancer… There Is Only Cancer." Perceived Late Effects of Pediatric Cancer on Survivors

Background: Although "late effects" connotes experiencing effects later in life, they can emerge immediately after active treatment. The effects that survivors experience have been reported but rarely from the point of view of the survivors regarding their life after treatment.

Objective: To examine the perceived late effects of pediatric cancer on survivors and their self-identified primary support persons in order to understand the multifaceted nature of living after a pediatric cancer diagnosis.

Methods: Using a pragmatic interpretive phenomenology approach, 10 survivors of pediatric cancer (aged 21-28 years) and 9 of their support persons (aged 23-73 years) participated, completing background questionnaires and semistructured, one-on-one interviews. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically.

Results: Both survivors and support persons acknowledged that survivors experienced negative physical and cognitive health outcomes that require follow-up care. Survivors acknowledged that their cancer experience and residual effects have changed the trajectory of their lives.

Conclusions: Research on young adult survivors of pediatric cancer and the residual/late effects and emotional outcomes they experience is warranted. Longitudinal research can aid in understanding how effects develop or worsen over time.

Implications for Practice: The findings of this study support The Children's Oncology Group Long-term Follow-up Guidelines for practitioners. As the frontline caring for these individuals and families, nurses' involvement in transitional care out of treatment is necessary. Continued involvement and understanding of long-term pediatric cancer survivorship for nurses are also imperative for continuity for survivors and families.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
Lippincott williams & wilkins
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Cancer Nursing
Volume Number
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End Page