Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries (January 11 - 14, 2007)

Friday, January 12, 2007: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Seacliff B (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Cancer: Psychosocial Issues Across the Lifespan
Organizer:Brad J. Zebrack, PhD, University of Southern California
Discussant:Julianne S. Oktay, PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Children with Cancer and Their Families at the End of Life
Barbara L. Jones, PhD
The Relationship of Uncertainty, Social Support, and Symptom Distress, to Quality of Life in Newly Diagnosed Adolescents with Cancer
Carol L. Decker, MSW, Joan E. Haase, RN, PhD
"In Sickness and in Health": Implications of Hereditary Cancer for Young Women's Family Life Cycle Development
Allison Werner-Lin, PhD
Quality of Life of Older Survivors of Adult Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Sophia K. Smith, MSW, Sheryl Zimmerman, PhD, Christianna Williams, PhD, Elizabeth C. Clipp, PhD, Merle H. Mishel, PhD, John S. Preisser, PhD
Predictors of Depressive Symptomatology in Older Female Cancer Survivors and Their Spouses: A Multilevel Dyadic Model
Aloen L. Townsend, PhD, Angela L. Curl, MSW, Karen J. Ishler, MA, Julia H. Rose, PhD, Karen F. Bowman, PhD
Abstract Text:
Cancer is not just a single event with a certain end but an enduring condition characterized by on-going uncertainty, potentially delayed or late effects of the disease or treatment, and concurrent psychosocial issues. It is not just “a disease process with associated medical treatment, [but] also a succession of social interactions and psychological conditions that accompany and sometimes affect the etiology, timing, and course of the disease.” A developmental framework for examining the psychosocial effects of cancer at various and key life stages (including the end of life) has the potential to advance our knowledge about the quality of life experienced by cancer patients and survivors. This symposium examines psychosocial issues of cancer survivorship for persons diagnosed at various points across the life span. There is little consensus about what underlying processes explain positive and/or negative psychosocial adaptation and functioning, or quality of life, for cancer patients and survivors diagnosed and treated at different ages/stages of life. While documenting the physical and psychosocial effects of cancer on people's lives, empirical studies and newly emerging theories of “cancer survivorship” have yet to (1) explain whether (and if so, how) people integrate the experience into their personal biographies, (2) distinguish those individuals who do/can achieve this integration from those who do not/cannot, (3) identify the social psychological and social structural factors that facilitate or impede this integration, nor (4) describe the consequences of such integration or lack of integration over the long-term. Although 3/4 of all children diagnosed with cancer are expected to live, the reality is that some die. Our first paper reports on unique psychosocial needs of children, adolescents and family members at the end of life. Our second paper examines the relationship of uncertainty, social support and symptom distress to quality of life in newly diagnosed adolescents with cancer. The third paper expounds upon the impact of knowing one's genetic risk for cancer on life course development, specifically family planning, for young women with known inherited genetic mutations. The fourth paper reports quality of life outcomes for older adult cancer survivors (an often under-represented population in psychosocial oncology research in spite of the fact that approximately 2/3 of all people diagnosed with cancer are over the age of 65). The fifth and final paper integrates the concerns of caregiving spouses into the discussion of important lifespan issues. The symposium will conclude with a discussion of how these findings can enhance a multidisciplinary approach to the delivery of quality cancer care.

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