When curing a pediatric tumor is not enough: The case of a psychiatric disorder in a woman surviving osteosarcoma

Cristina Meazza, Laura Veneroni, Marta Podda, Monica Terenziani, Roberto Luksch, Andrea Ferrari, Serena Catania, Elisabetta Schiavello, Barbara Giacon, Nadia Puma, Luca Bergamaschi, Luisa Roncari, Carlo Alfredo Clerici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: We describe the case of a woman cured of osteosarcoma who took part in a mono-institutional study using different questionnaires to assess pediatric cancer survivors' quality of life and behavioral features 12 years after completing her cancer treatment. Results: The high levels of psychological distress and psychopathologic symptoms revealed by this patient prompted us to offer her specific and prolonged support at our institution, since she refused to seek the help of other psychiatric services. The woman revealed a dysfunctional social and family setting and a borderline personality disorder. She was hospitalized after attempting suicide. No psychological distress had previously come to light during her long follow-up for cancer. Conclusions: Cancer survivors are at risk of psychological and behavioral problems, so they should be followed up over time. Questionnaires and standard scales are important, but not enough: the physician-patient relationship is crucial to bring out a patient's psychological issues and needs. This means that dedicated resources should be made available, whenever possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S113-S115
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Cancer survivors
  • Physician-patient relationship
  • Psychological distress
  • Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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