Prevalence of Psychiatric Symptoms in ALL Patients during Maintenance Therapy.


BACKGROUND: Cancer diagnosis may cause deep emotional and affective problems in patients and their families. Nowadays, however, despite its rising prevalence, cancer is no longer synonymous with death. Given the significance of emotional well-being in cancer patients, we decided to assess the frequency of psychological problems in seven to seventeen year-olds with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Our sample included 42 children and adolescents with ALL referred to pediatric hematology department of Dr. Sheikh hospital, who were put under maintenance course of the treatment. Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression and behavioral disturbances were examined by using RCMAS, CDI and SDQ questionnaires respectively. RESULTS: The entire population showed depressive symptoms.59.5% of patients (25 person) suffered from anxiety and 26.2% (11 person) had behavioral problems. No significant relation was found between depressive symptoms, and age (p=0.77), sex (p=0.97), length of disease (p=0.50), and type of treatment (p=0.064). Anxiety did not show any significant relation with age (p= 0.63), sex (p= 0.32), length of disease (p= 0.16) and treatment type (p= 0.064).Similarly behavioral disturbances did not indicate any suggestive relation with age (p= 0.20), sex (p= 0.56), length of disease (p= 0.81) and type of treatment (p= 0.19). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest a high prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents with ALL. It is strongly recommended, therefore, that besides somatic symptoms, careful attention be paid to psychological disorders. This can prevent rapid development of the disease reduce treatment costs, and improve the quality of life for both patients and their families.