Feasibility of neurobehavioral screening following diagnosis of pediatric cancer.
BACKGROUND: Neurobehavioral deficits will affect up to 50% of pediatric cancer survivors treated with central nervous system (CNS)-directed therapies. Guidelines suggest assessment of neurobehavioral skills at diagnosis be extended from patients with brain tumors to include all patients requiring CNS-directed therapies. However, comprehensive neuropsychological assessment at diagnosis is difficult to implement and resource intensive. A screening assessment targeted at the neurobehavioral domains known to be impacted by cancer treatments may be more feasible. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of implementing baseline neurobehavioral screening following childhood cancer diagnosis. PROCEDURE: A consecutive sample of 59 recently diagnosed patients requiring CNS-directed therapies, and 49 healthy controls were assessed using a targeted neurobehavioral screen, which included measures of developmental, cognitive, academic, behavioral, and psychosocial functioning. Feasibility was assessed using a formal feasibility framework, with criteria of brevity, simplicity, relevance, acceptability, and value. Neurobehavioral assessment was compared to standard care to determine the quality of information acquired from the screen. RESULTS: Mean time from diagnosis to assessment was 5.17 weeks. Assessments were completed within 1 hour for 87% of patients. Participant and researcher evaluation indicated the screen was acceptable across a range of criteria, with no differences between clinical and control groups. Compared to standard medical record documentation, the screen provided significant additional information on developmental and neurobehavioral status of patients at diagnosis. CONCLUSION: A brief neurobehavioral screen in the early period following cancer diagnosis is feasible and provides valuable baseline data for children at risk of neurobehavioral late-effects of cancer treatments.
Pejnovic, LP; De Luca, CR; Gentle, E; Anson, K; Ashley, DM; Anderson, VA; McCarthy, MC
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