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Oncologic Children Undergoing Radiotherapy: Ways to Alleviate the Psychological Burden: A Review

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Angeliki Skoutari*, Eftychia Chounta, Nikolaos Skenteris, Nikolaos Tsoukalas, Aikaterini Alexopoulou and Maria Tolia   Pages 166 - 172 ( 7 )

Abstract:


Background: Radiation therapy is stressful for both the patient and family. After a child's cancer diagnosis, parents face the burden of dealing with fear, their children's needs and the unfamiliarity of radiotherapy procedure.

Introduction: This paper aims to present methods to alleviate the total psychological stress those children and parents feel during the radiation course.

Methods: A literature search was performed until January 2020.

Result: Previous publications suggest a multidisciplinary proactive approach involving health professionals, patient, family, and extended family to lessen the stress associated with radiation therapy. A well-trained, specialist, healthcare radiotherapy-pediatric staff can help, educate and communicate effectively with the family. Maintaining the same health staff during radiotherapy creates intimacy and reduces anxiety. All necessary age-appropriate information as well as a list available with the most important things about the care-giving should be clearly written and easily accessible. An information exchange system among all the health specialists involved must be developed. Friendly and playful specialists are crucial in familiarizing the child with the computed tomography (CT) machines and radiotherapy process. A tablet with an educating application or machine models installed in the waiting area can be useful. Creative arts therapy may be a positive intervention. Maintaining a normal routine is vital for the psychological well-being of parents and children. A social worker may assist in regaining a good mental state.

Conclusion: With ongoing age-appropriate information and psychological support throughout the whole radiation period, both parents and children will be more optimistic, strong and encouraged to fight for the child’s and family’s well-being.

Keywords:

Children, parents, radiotherapy, psychosocial, support, oncology radiation.

Affiliation:

Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Biopolis, Larisa, 41500, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Biopolis, Larisa, 41500, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, University Hospital of Larisa, Biopolis, 41500 Larisa, 401 General Military Hospital, Athens, Department of Radiotherapy/Radiation Oncology, General Children’s Hospital “P. & A. Kyriakou”, Levadeiasstr, 115 27, Athens, Department of Radiotherapy/Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, University Hospital of Larisa, Biopolis, 41500 Larisa

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