Adolescence and young adulthood (AeYa) is a critical period of development and cancer diagnoses during this time can have a lifelong effect on patients, according to a story published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Long-term cancer survivors diagnosed during AeYa have a higher risk for poor psychological and neurocognitive function and vocational attainment in adulthood. In this study, 6,192 survivors and 390 siblings completed the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 and a Neurocognitive Questionnaire to evaluate social attainment.
Adjusted for age and sex, survivors self-reported higher rates of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety (11.7% vs. 8.0% and 7.4% vs. 4.4%, respectively) and other neurocognitive functions such as memory and emotional regulation.
Unemployment was increased in the cancer survivor group and was linked to problems with task efficiency, somatization, and depression.
Few differences occurred between survivors who had been diagnosed with leukemia or central nervous system tumor before they were 11 years compared with those who were diagnosed later. Those diagnosed with lymphoma or sarcoma during AeYa were at reduced risk for psychological and neurocognitive problems.