Follow-up care of adolescent survivors of childhood cancer: The role of health beliefs

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Abstract

Background.

Little is known about follow-up care attendance of adolescent survivors of childhood cancer, and which factors foster or hinder attendance. Attending follow-up care is especially important for adolescent survivors to allow for a successful transition into adult care. We aimed to (i) describe the proportion of adolescent survivors attending follow-up care; (ii) describe adolescents' health beliefs; and (iii) identify the association of health beliefs, demographic, and medical factors with follow-up care attendance.

Procedure.

Of 696 contacted adolescent survivors diagnosed with cancer at ≤16 years of age, ≥5 years after diagnosis, and aged 16–21 years at study, 465 (66.8%) completed the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study questionnaire. We assessed follow-up care attendance and health beliefs, and extracted demographic and medical information from the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry. Cross-sectional data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression models.

Results.

Overall, 56% of survivors reported attending follow-up care. Most survivors (80%) rated their susceptibility for late effects as low and believed that follow-up care may detect and prevent late effects (92%). Few (13%) believed that follow-up care is not necessary. Two health beliefs were associated with follow-up care attendance (perceived benefits: odds ratio [OR]: 1.56; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07–2.27; perceived barriers: OR: 0.70; 95%CI: 0.50–1.00).

Conclusions.

We show that health beliefs are associated with actual follow-up care attendance of adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. A successful model of health promotion in adolescent survivors should, therefore, highlight the benefits and address the barriers to keep adolescent survivors in follow-up care. Pediatr Blood Cancer © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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