NCCS White Paper Highlights Post Traumatic Growth in Childhood Cancer Survivors

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The ability of childhood cancer survivors to transform their traumatic health journey into positive goals and a productive adulthood is highlighted in a new white paper on Post Traumatic Growth published by The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), a nonprofit organization helping children with cancer and their families from diagnosis to survivorship.

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“For many childhood survivors, cancer has strengthened their character, intensified their love of life, and instilled a sense of duty to truly make a difference in the lives of others,” said Julie Komanetsky, vice president of patient and family services

The ability of childhood cancer survivors to transform their traumatic health journey into positive goals and a productive adulthood is highlighted in a new white paper on Post Traumatic Growth published by The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), a nonprofit organization helping children with cancer and their families from diagnosis to survivorship.

The white paper examines renewed attention and research on Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), first identified in 1996 by Lawrence Calhoun and Richard Tedeschi, psychology professors at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC). The university’s Post Traumatic Growth Research Group provides information, links to research articles and opportunities to participate in online studies.

The NCCS has witnessed PTG firsthand in its Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship recipients, young adult survivors who are tackling college and finding multiple ways to help children now facing cancer. Some do it through support organizations like the NCCS while others use their childhood experience to shape their careers. The paper includes interviews with several of these young adults.

“For many childhood survivors, cancer has strengthened their character, intensified their love of life, and instilled a sense of duty to truly make a difference in the lives of others,” said Julie Komanetsky, vice president of patient and family services for the NCCS.

The paper identifies five general areas where PTG occurs:

  •     A new appreciation for life
  •     A changed sense of priorities
  •     Warmer and deeper personal relationships
  •     A greater sense of personal strength
  •     Recognition of new possibilities

The NCCS paper also reviews a recent study by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which found that pediatric cancer survivors do not struggle with PTSD any more frequently than children who have not experienced cancer. The study found that young cancer patients were also more likely than children who experienced other stressful events to report having benefitted from the experience.

The NCCS presented the latest research and information about PTG at a recent conference for survivors and parents.

About the National Children’s Cancer Society
The mission of The National Children's Cancer Society is to provide emotional, financial and educational support to children with cancer, their families and survivors. To learn more about the NCCS, visit thenccs.org. The National Children’s Cancer Society is a 501C(3) organization that has provided more than $61 million in direct financial assistance to nearly 36,000 children with cancer.

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Lori Millner
The National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS)
since: 06/2010
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