Most survivors of retinoblastoma do not have poorer psychosocial functioning compared to the general population, according to a recent study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Researchers led by Jennifer Ford, PhD, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, looked at 470 survivors of retinoblastoma who were diagnosed from 1932 to 1994 and completed a comprehensive questionnaire adapted from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) in order to determine long-term psychosocial outcomes in this patient group compared to a non-cancer CCSS population.

Psychosocial outcomes included factors such as psychological distress, anxiety, depression, fear of recurrence, satisfaction with facial appearance, and post-traumatic effects.

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Compared with 2,820 CCSS non-cancer patients, survivors of retinoblastoma were not found to have significantly higher rates of depression, somatization, distress, or anxiety.

While survivors were more likely to report post-traumatic stress symptoms of avoidance or hyperarousal, only five of them had met the criteria to be classified as having post-traumatic stress disorder.

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In addition, having a chronic medical condition was not associated with an increased likelihood of psychological problems among survivors.

While bilateral retinoblastoma survivors were more likely to experience fear of recurrence than unilateral retinoblastoma survivors, they were no more likely to report depression, anxiety, or somatic complaints.


  1. Ford JS, Chou JF, Sklar CA, et al. Psychosocial outcomes in adult survivors of retinoblastoma. [published online ahead of print September 28, 2015]. J Clin. Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.60.5733.