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Self-Perceived Physical Attractiveness in Relation to Scars Among Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: A Population-Based Study.

Journal article
Authors Maria Olsson
Karin Enskär
Gunnar Steineck
Ulrica Wilderäng
Marianne Jarfelt
Published in Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology
Volume 7
Issue 3
Pages 358-66
ISSN 2156-535X
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Pages 358-66
Language en
Subject categories Pediatrics


Cancer treatment may result in various effects that last long after treatment has been concluded. The purpose of this study was to explore to what extent scars affect adolescents and young adults postcancer treatment.In this population-based study, a study-specific questionnaire was developed by a method used in several previous investigations carried out by our research group, Clinical Cancer Epidemiology. Question development involved expert validation by professionals from oncology units, midwives, epidemiologists, and statisticians. The questionnaire was developed in collaboration with adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. The topics covered in the questionnaire were as follows: psychosocial health, body image and sexuality, fertility, education, work, and leisure. The web-based questionnaire was sent to teenage and young adult cancer survivors and matched controls in Sweden.In this study, the relative risk of feeling less attractive due to scars was higher both for female cancer survivors RR 1.48, CI 1.05-2.08 and male cancer survivors RR 1.90, CI 1.15-3.13 compared to controls. The feeling of attractiveness was negatively related to the size of scars in both cancer and control groups. In a logistic regression analysis, significant associations were found between age, education, exercise, depression, and the feeling of low attractiveness due to scars.The results of this study provide a basis for care interventions for teenage and young adult cancer patients during and after cancer treatment. Further research is needed on care interventions to reduce, if possible, the impact of scars.

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