Feeling scared or worried self-report in children receiving cancer treatments using the Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi)
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INTRODUCTION: The objectives of this study were to describe reports of bother for feeling scared or worried among children with cancer and pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients, and to identify factors associated with it. METHODS: We included children receiving cancer treatments who were 8-18 years of age. Three patient types were enrolled: inpatients receiving active cancer treatment, outpatients receiving maintenance acute lymphoblastic leukemia chemotherapy, and outpatients in survivorship. Amount of bother due to feeling scared or worried yesterday or today was self-reported using the Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi) on a 0-4 scale. Risk factors were evaluated using logistic regression. RESULTS: Among the 502 children included, 225 (45.0%) reported any degree of bother (score ≥ 1) and 29 (5.8%) reported severe bother (score ≥ 3) for feeling scared or worried. In multiple regression evaluating any bother, boys were less likely to be bothered (odds ratio (OR) 0.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.41-0.87) and inpatients receiving active cancer treatment were more likely to be bothered compared to outpatients in survivorship (OR 3.58, 95% CI 2.00-6.52). The only factor associated with being severely bothered by feeling scared or worried was clinic visit or admission due to fever (OR 4.57, 95% CI 1.24-13.60). DISCUSSION: We found 45% of children receiving cancer treatments reported being bothered by feeling scared or worried. Girls and inpatients receiving active treatment experienced more bother of any degree, while visiting the hospital due to fever was associated with being severely bothered. Future work should identify interventions to prevent or alleviate this symptom.
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