MONDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1.5 million adult
cancer survivors in the United States are parents who live with one
or more children younger than 18 years old, finds a new study.
The findings may lead to greater assistance for these patients
and their families, said Kathryn Weaver, of Wake Forest University
Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues.
The researchers analyzed data from 13,385 adult cancer survivors
who took part in the United States National Health Interview Survey
between 2000 and 2007. They found that about 18 percent of newly
diagnosed cancer survivors and 14 percent of all U.S. cancer
survivors live with one or more of their minor children. The
percentages mean that there are about 1.58 million adult cancer
survivors living with 2.85 million children under age 18. An
estimated 562,000 minor children are living with a parent in the
early phases of cancer treatment and recovery.
The study also found that most cancer survivors living with
their minor children are female (78.9 percent), married (69.8
percent), and under 50 years of age (85.8 percent). Of the children
of cancer survivors, 30.5 percent were under 6 years of age at the
time of their parent's cancer diagnosis and 33.4 percent were born
after the diagnosis.
A cancer diagnosis poses extraordinary challenges for people
with young children, including worries about not living to see
their children grow up. "Greater awareness of the number and
characteristics of cancer survivors living with minor children may
facilitate clinical screening and referral efforts, inform public
health planning, and stimulate research on these understudied
families," the researchers concluded.
The study appears online June 28 in the journal
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more