Some psychosocial aspects of childhood cancer as seen at Kenyatta National Hospital
The knowledge, attitude and practice of relatives of 50 children with cancer, the effects of the child's disease on the affected family from the point of view of parent's marital status, the parent-patient relationship and behavioural disturbances in outpatients are presented. A total of 67 adults were interviewed including 30 mothers, 28 fathers, 4 uncles, 4 aunts and one brother. Twenty eight (41.8%) of them had good knowledge of the child's disease, 20 (29.85%) of them despite explanation from a doctor did not understand the disease well and 19 (28.35%) had no knowledge of the child's disease and had also not benefited from a doctor's explanation. Good knowledge of the disease was related to better level of education and socioeconomic status. Duration of treatment, however, had no influence on knowledge of the disease by relatives. Most relatives thought the disease was like any other God's wish, however, a small number thought their families were cursed or undergoing temptations (trials). Relative's knowledge on disease, and duration of treatment of affected children had no bearing on their beliefs and thoughts but their level of education had. The majority of the parents had overprotective attitude towards their sick children and most of the affected children being followed up as -out-patients had behavioural disturbances.