Pediatric brain tumour survivors are at risk of long-term consequences of therapy. Comprehensive late effects care may mitigate these risks, but the best care model is unclear. We sought to describe the care experience and quality of life (QOL) of pediatric brain tumour survivors at the McMaster Children’s Hospital joint adult/pediatric Neuro-Oncology clinic.
Cross-sectional survey data were collected. Care needs were assessed with the Cancer Care Experience Questionnaire (CCEQ), Cancer Worry Scale (CWS), and Self-Management Skills Scale (SMSS). Quality of life was measured utilizing the PedsQL Brain Tumor Module. Data were analyzed descriptively.
Thirty-two childhood brain tumor survivors and/or their parents participated. Their malignancies included embryonal tumors (medulloblastoma/ATRT) (62%), ependymoma (22%), and germ cell tumours (16%). Among 77%, therapy included chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Most respondents reported high quality cancer care, although some could not recall discussions of late effects risks and health promotion. Mean cancer worry scores were low (71.8 (± 28.4)). Survivors reported limited self-management skills (58.5 (±18.2)), with support required in clinic visits, arranging medical appointments, filling prescriptions and tasks of daily living. Overall median QOL scores were in the ‘good’ range (parental report 72.3 (±17.7), survivor 68.2 (±16.6)).
In comparison to other childhood cancer survivor cohorts, this group of long-term brain tumour survivors appear to have similar QOL, fewer cancer worries, and increased need for aid with self-management. Given this, along with the positive care experience reported, this clinic model of care appears to meet the needs of this population.