Easing Psychological Distress in Pediatric Cancer

  • Maru E. BarreraEmail author
  • Adam Rapoport
  • Kim S. Daniel
Part of the Pediatric Oncology book series (PEDIATRICO)


Childhood cancer is a life-threatening and changing group of diseases that can cause major psychological distress not only for the child but also for the entire family. The cancer experience can be particularly stressful during critical times such as at diagnosis and relapse or for those who have a poor prognosis and reach end of life while receiving treatment. The primary aim of this chapter is to describe how healthcare providers (HCPs) can help youth with cancer and their families to reduce psychological distress and improve coping and quality of life throughout the cancer trajectory. To that aim, several principles are integrated in this chapter: maximizing quality of life and reducing distress [principles of palliative care], considering the youth and his/her family as the focus of and partner in comprehensive care [child-family-centered care], and preventive and developmental models of psychological screening, assessment, and intervention. In addition to general strategies for psychological screening and assessment of distress, and intervention to enhance coping, we provide specific recommendations organized by three unique developmental periods: under 4 years, 4–11 years, and 12–19 years. Our ultimate goal is to help reduce psychological distress in children and adolescent with cancer and their families to improve their coping strategies and quality of life at every step of the cancer journey.



We thank the organizations listed in this chapter for granting us permission for publishing their QRs, Dr. Anne Kazak for her inspiration and support of our work, and Kelly Hancock and Alexandra Neville for their assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maru E. Barrera
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adam Rapoport
    • 2
  • Kim S. Daniel
    • 1
  1. 1.Hematology/Oncology Division and Psychology DepartmentHospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Paediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT)Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

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