Persistent psychological distress in long-term survivors of peditric sarcoma: The experience at a single institution

Lori Weiner, Haven Battles, Donna Bernstein, Lauren Long, Joanne Derdak, Crystal L. Mackall, Patrick J. Mansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: The long-term psychological impact of pediatric sarcoma is largely unknown. As part of a cross-sectional study examining the late effects of pediatric sarcoma therapy, we examined whether psychological distress or posttraumatic stress symptoms are present in an adult cohort of pediatric sarcoma survivors. Method: Thirty-four patients participated in the study, an average of 17 years after their treatment ended, each completing the SCID module for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Impact of Events Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and a questionnaire assessing sociodemographic variables and psychosocial issues. Results: Significant persistent psychological distress characterized this cohort of patients. Seventy-seven percent scored in the clinical range on the BSI. Twelve percent met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Current psychological distress was associated with intrusive thoughts and avoidant behaviors, male gender, employment, difficulty readjusting to work/school after treatment, and enduring worries about health. No differences were found based on age, presence of metastatic disease or time since diagnosis. Conclusions: This is the first report of a clinical evaluation of psychological distress in a cohort of pediatric sarcoma survivors treated with intensive multimodal cancer therapy. The results suggest that survivors of pediatric sarcoma might be at high risk for adverse psychological outcomes. Appropriate interventions are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-910
Number of pages13
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Intensive treatment
  • Long-term survivors
  • Oncology
  • Pediatric sarcoma
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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