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Martha Grootenhuis

20A. Psychosocial risk screening across the trajectory of childhood cancer treatment

With the knowledge that the diagnosis of cancer during childhood has an impact on the whole family system, it is important to monitor and screen for psychosocial distress. A well-known, brief and well-validated screener for psychosocial risk in pediatric oncology is the Psychological Assessment Tool (PAT) developed by Kazak et al. The PAT distinguishes families that are at three levels of  risk for developing psychosocial problems. Other instruments being utilised for screening are the Distress Thermometer for Parents (DT-P) and PROMIS questionnaires. In the Netherlands the PAT and DT-P have been implemented as a standard of care in a routine monitoring program, using the KLIK PROM portal.  In Australia, the PAT and DT-P are under study at the end of active treatment.

This Butterfly project is centred around the use of psychosocial risk screening at different time points and in different countries. The following research questions are among those that can be addressed. What is the impact of psychosocial risk on the course of quality of life and fatigue of children with cancer and the stress of their parents? (data collected in the Netherlands) What is the feasibility of screening at the  end of treatment for families with ALL or lymphoma and the relation to other screening measures? (data collected in Australia). The student will also be able to work with a large national database of PAT data (n = 3000) in the United States. In summary, this research will be conducted on available data sets, and with the opportunity to learn from the experience of psychosocial risk screening in different countries.

The project provides the opportunity to work together with an international team of leaders in the field of psycho-oncology and to obtain in-depth experience with longitudinal data analysis on psychosocial risk, functioning and quality of life in pediatric oncology.


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