Social support is critical to life satisfaction in young patients with cancer

Among adolescents and young adults with cancer, social support was the most decisive factor associated with life satisfaction. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings indicate that social support and how young cancer patients process the experience of being ill have far greater importance for their life satisfaction than sociodemographic or medical factors do. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Life satisfaction strongly relates to quality of life, which can be affected during cancer treatment. Adolescents and young adults with cancer may be especially vulnerable as they are dealing with a serious disease at a complex psychosocial stage of life that can include leaving home, establishing financial and social independence, forming a family, and starting a career.

To determine which factors might affect life satisfaction in these patients a team of researchers at University Medical Center Leipzig in Germany provided a questionnaire at two time points (12 months apart) to 514 young patients who were aged 18 to 39 years at the time of cancer diagnosis and were diagnosed in the last four years. In comparing answers between the first and second questionnaire, the investigators looked for differences in life satisfaction


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