1606P - Parental cancer: reviewing the concerns of breast cancer patients with children

Date 01 October 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Poster presentation III
Topics Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Breast Cancer
Presenter Eriko Miura
Authors E. Miura1, T. Ishida2
  • 1Child Support, St.Luke's International Hospital, 1048560 - Tokyo/JP
  • 2Child Support, St.Luke's International Hospital, Tokyo/JP



In recent years, it is estimated that 24% of cancer patients have a child under 18 years of age. Affected parents may experience heightened distress related to the worries about their illness as well as their inability to perform parenting activities. Many parents also struggle with what and how to tell their children about their own or their loved one's illness and future. Since 2008, St. Luke's International Hospital (Tokyo, Japan) started a service called “Child Support”, for these patients to discuss their concerns, providing them with appropriate suggestions and useful resources.


The objective of this research is to review and organize the concerns breast cancer patients with children have, and to review the types of support provided by the professionals.


Medical charts of breast cancer patients with under aged children, who were offered to a child support service between the period of April 2010 and November 2011, were reviewed (n = 172).


75% of the child support sessions started from the direct offering by the Child Life Specialist (CLS). Nurses were slightly more active in referring the patients to the service. 70% of the patients' concerns were topics that directly related to their children. The two most common concerns were “confrontation to the children about parent's illness” (30%), and “how the illness will impact the child” (40%). While less than 10% showed absolutely no concern, others showed concerns in topics related to one's own illness (<10%) and intrafamilial matters (<10%).


When post-traumatic stress levels of 126 breast cancer patients and 56 of their children were measured, 51% of the mothers scored above the cut–off score of 25 with the use of IES-R (Impact of Event Scale – Revised) and 52% of the children were shown to have moderate to severe post-traumatic stress syndrome symptoms. These findings clearly indicate the need for professional intervention within this patient and family population. While we have identified some of the major concerns of these affected parents, currently in Japan, there is not enough support system for this specific population. Knowing what these patient populations worry about, and knowing how to give appropriate support may be a gateway to our nation's providing a better support system for these patient population.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.