Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Educational attainment of childhood cancer survivors: A systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Background: Advances in treatment mean that most children diagnosed with cancer during childhood survive. Therefore, it is increasingly important to examine the long-term consequences of childhood cancer, including educational attainment. This systematic review investigated whether the educational attainment of childhood cancer survivors differ from the cancer-free population. Design/methods: We searched seven databases for articles published from January 2005 to August 2018. We identified full papers in English, reporting primary data on academic attainment of adult survivors of childhood cancer, compared to a control group. Quality appraisal was conducted using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Results: Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Nine papers included patients with various types of cancers, four focused on a single type of cancer, and one on patients who underwent stem cell transplantation. Of the 14 papers, 2 studies were considered good quality, 10 were considered adequate quality, and 2 were considered poor quality. Four studies reported more favorable educational attainment among survivors while six did not report significant differences. Less favorable attainment was consistently reported for CNS survivors in four studies. Conclusion: The literature does not provide a clear pattern of the long-term consequences of childhood cancer on education attainment. While this may suggest that there is no consistent difference between the education attainment of cancer survivors and controls, it may also be the result of limitations in the existing research. To better assess the education attainment of survivors, there is a need for high-quality studies, with appropriate comparators, and standardized measures of education attainment across countries.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Molcho M, D'Eath M, Alforque Thomas A, Sharp L

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancer Medicine

Year: 2019

Volume: 8

Issue: 6

Pages: 3182-3195

Print publication date: 01/06/2019

Online publication date: 21/04/2019

Acceptance date: 26/03/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2045-7634

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/cam4.2154

PubMed id: 31007000