Health Inequalities in Childhood Cancer Survivors

Key Information

Researcher: 
Cancer type: 
Childhood cancer
Research Institution: 
NUI Galway
Grant Amount: 
€119,290
Start date: 
April 1, 2015
End date: 
August 31, 2016

Scientific Project Abstract

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Ireland. Each year, on average, 30,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed, an increase of 56% in 20 years. The current cancer incidence rate is 423 cases per 100,000 per year, and in 2010, cancer-related mortality rate was 175 deaths per 100,000 per year, indicating that 60% of cancer patients survive. Overall, survival is increasing by 1-2% per year. Similarly, survival rates from childhood cancers have increased with 80% of patients now surviving childhood cancers.

 

The risk of developing childhood cancers is known to vary by social factors (such as social class), however, there is little understanding of social inequalities in childhood cancer outcomes, or childhood cancer survivors’ health and supportive care needs. This study aims to explore inequalities in childhood cancer survival rates, stage of diagnosis, and long-term health outcomes.
 
The 3-stage study will (1) review the international evidence on health inequalities in childhood cancer outcomes; (2) analyse routinely-collected data on prevalence and outcomes of childhood cancers In Ireland by gender, family SES, area-level SES, and area of residence (urban or rural); and (3) survey childhood cancer survivors to assess their self-reported health outcomes, wellbeing and health and social support needs. The study will assess the needs of cancer survivors who are least well-off or live in remote areas and devise recommendations for advocacy activities, practice and policy. It will inform advocacy and will provide valuable evidence for improved access and support for those who need it most.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
This study will increase understanding of inequalities in childhood cancer survival and long-term health.
What this project involves: 
Childhood cancer survivors may suffer from late effects on their health and wellbeing, and understanding their needs will allow us to provide better health care and support. However, especially in Ireland, little is known on how social factors are linked with childhood cancer survival or survivors’ health, wellbeing and support needs. 

This 3-phase study will increase understanding of inequalities in childhood cancer survival and long-term health. We will bring together the evidence on health inequalities in childhood cancer. We will then analyse data on prevalence and outcomes of childhood cancers in Ireland based on gender, family socioeconomic status (SES), area-level SES, and area of residence. Lastly, we will survey childhood cancer survivors to assess their self-reported health, wellbeing and health and social support needs.

Our finding will provide a better understanding of the needs of childhood cancer survivors, and especially of those most deprived or who live in remote areas. Our study will help in advocating for improved access and support for those who need it most.