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Parents of children with cancer at risk of mental illness

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The parents of children with cancer are at significant risk from mental health problems, a UK study has found.

The parents of children with cancer are at significant risk from mental health problems, a UK study has found.

Coventry University researchers found that three quarters of 217 parents of children with cancer, mostly leukaemia, showed signs of clinical anxiety. This was compared with around a quarter of parents of healthy children.

Almost half of parents looking after children with cancer were also at risk of serious depression, compared to just 6% of other parents, the authors said.

They also found that men were more likely to be optimistic about the outcome of their child's cancer than women. As a result of their findings, the authors have developed a support programme for parents called Hope+.

The Hope+ programme runs for 6 weekly 2 hour sessions and delivered by health and psychology professionals from Coventry University and trained community volunteers.

Psychooncology (2007) www3.interscience.wiley

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