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Parents’ Knowledge and Attitude Regarding Their Child’s Cancer and Effectiveness of Initial Disease Counseling in Pediatric Oncology Patients

Journal title
Indian journal of palliative care
Publication year
Nair, M.; Paul, L. T.; Latha, P. T.; Parukkutty, K.

Objective: To examine parent’s knowledge, attitude and psychosocial response regarding their child’s cancer and treatment after initial disease counseling by doctor. Materials and Methods: Structured questionnaire based study of 43 mothers of newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients undergoing treatment in pediatric oncology division. Mothers received initial counseling regarding their child’s cancer and treatment from the doctor. Questionnaire was administered 2-6 months after initial counseling and mothers self-reported their responses. Results: 83% mothers had school level education only and 84% belonged to lower and middle socio-economic status. More than 80% mothers knew the name of their child’s cancer, type of treatment received by child and approximate duration of treatment. 93% knew regarding painful procedures and 84% mothers reported knowledge about chemotherapy side effects. Hope of cure and satisfaction with treatment were reported by 90% mothers. 81% mothers reported high levels of anxiety and 66% worried regarding painful procedures. As high as 60% of parents were afraid to send their child outside to play and 40% were afraid to send their child to school. 40% mothers wanted more information regarding child’s higher education, married life & fertility. On statistical analysis, mother’s age, educational status or family background did not influence their knowledge and attitude. Conclusion: Relevant information about child’s cancer and treatment can be imparted effectively even to mothers with school level education. This knowledge helps to instill hopeful attitude, confidence and satisfaction in parents. Anxiety and fear related to cancer persists in mothers even after the initial stress period is over. Pain related to injections and procedures is a major concern in parents. Involvement of counselor in the treating team is desirable to overcome these problems.

Research abstracts