Fulfilling the Role of a Parent While Undergoing Treatment for Cancer: A Review of the Literature and the Potential Impact of Childcare Support on Cancer Outcomes

May, 05, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles

Breast cancer is the most prevalent malignancy among adolescents and young adults (AYAs). Despite the efficacy of chemotherapy, AYA patients contend with psychosocial challenges, including psychological distress and financial toxicity, exacerbated further by those with dependent children. Parenting responsibilities intersect with cancer care, impacting both family dynamics and treatment adherence. Despite recognized needs, however, the impact of parenting concerns or even parenting status and the presence of dependents has not been systematically addressed and there is a paucity of interventional research regarding patients with cancer as concomitant caregivers. A feasibility study conducted by the Brown University Oncology Cooperative Group demonstrated the potential benefits of providing financial assistance for childcare, both improving treatment adherence and reducing distress among participants. Similar interventions have shown promise in addressing financial hardships for AYA patients with cancer who are concomitant caregivers. Ultimately, parenting concerns have a significant impact on medical decision-making, and further interventional research on childcare support is required to examine the ways in which health systems can improve family stability, stress, and quality of life.

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