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Cancer’s toll on childhood

Surviving cancer is a life-changing experience for anyone, but it takes a bigger toll on children than previously realized. Since children with cancer spend so much time in the hospital or at home recovering from treatment, they miss out on significant childhood experiences and opportunities to socialize with other kids. By adolescence, many childhood cancer survivors have fewer friends, poorer social skills, lower self-esteem and more stress and academic problems than children with no history of cancer, according to research published in the journal Cancer. Clearly, children need better postcancer follow-up care, including educational and social support. On an encouraging note, the scientists found that children who came from homes where education is prized and who derive self-esteem from academic achievement were more likely to avoid these setbacks.