New publication: Is my child suddenly behaving differently now?

Behavioral problems after childhood cancer treatment.

Luzius Mader

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What was the aim of our study?

The diagnosis of childhood cancer and the intensive treatment are a great challenge for children and their families. Children often feel the consequences years later. We wanted to find out whether they also change their behavior. To do this, we asked their parents about behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, emotional problems or problems in dealing with peers. We then compared the responses with results from healthy children. We also investigated whether physical late effects influence the behavior of children with cancer. Such late effects include heart problems, lung disease, hearing loss or problems with hormones.

Why is this important?
Behavioral problems can have a negative impact on many areas of life. It is important to know whether cancer changes the behavior of children. Affected parents and children can be supported in this way, for example with targeted therapy or psychological support.

What exactly did we do in our study?
In Switzerland, there are many parents of children who have survived cancer. We looked at which of these children are now between 5 and 15 years old. We sent their parents a questionnaire. 756 parents filled it out. We compared the answers with those of parents of children without cancer. We also asked the parents of cancer survivors questions about possible late effects.

What did we find and how do we classify it?
Fortunately, our study has shown that only a few childhood cancer survivors show behavioural problems. Compared to children without cancer, however, childhood cancer survivors more often have emotional problems and problems in dealing with others, for example friends. This was especially the case for childhood cancer survivors with physical late effects. This study shows again: A broad aftercare is very important. Medical care is only one side. Children also need emotional and social support. Then they and their families can enjoy life as much as possible.

For more information:

Reference: Mader L, Sláma T, Schindera C, Rössler J, von der Weid NX, Belle FN, Kuehni CE. Social, emotional, and behavioral functioning in young childhood cancer survivors with chronic health conditions. Pediatric & Blood Cancer. 2022. e29756. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.29756.

Here is our whole study: link


Dr. Luzius Mader (

Prof. Claudia E Kuehni (