180762 Adult Siblings of Childhood Cancer Survivors Are Heavy Drinkers: Which Siblings are at Risk? A Report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

E. Anne Lown, DrPH , Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, CA
Robert Goldsby, MD , Pediatric Hemotology/Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Ann Mertens, PhD , Department of Pediatrics, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
Rachael A. Korcha, MA , Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, CA
Thomas Greenfield, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Jason Bond, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
John Whitton, MS , CCSS Statistical Support Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Leslie L. Robison, PhD , Epidemiology, Cancer Prevention and Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
Lonnie K. Zeltzer, MD , Pediatric Pain Program, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Objective: Little is known about alcohol consumption among siblings of childhood cancer survivors, though recent research has documented considerable distress among this under-researched population. This study describes alcohol consumption patterns among the siblings of long-term survivors of pediatric cancer compared to survivors and healthy peers and evaluates demographic, mental health and severity of the cancer experience to explain associated risks for heavy drinking among siblings. Methods: Data were collected from 3,034 adult siblings of pediatric cancer survivors, 10,398 survivors, and 5,712 controls from a national survey. National data were weighted to reflect the distribution of siblings by gender, age and ethnicity to increase comparability of the samples. Results: Controlling for demographic variables, compared to healthy peers, siblings were more likely to be current drinkers (ORadj=2.0; 95% CI 1.7-2.3), risky drinkers (ORadj=1.3; 1.1-1.6), and heavy drinkers (ORadj=1.3; 1.0-1.6). Compared to survivors, siblings were again more likely to be current drinkers (OR=1.7), risky drinkers (OR=1.5) and heavy drinkers (OR=1.5;1.3-1.8). Factors associated with heavy sibling drinking include younger age, being male, lower education, and drinking initiation at a young age. Depression and general psychological distress were associated with heavy sibling drinking. Conclusions: Adult siblings of childhood cancer exhibit higher rates of current, risky and heavy alcohol consumption compared to both peers and survivors. Screening for alcohol consumption should be instituted for siblings as well as for survivors. Cancer related stresses from the survivor's diagnosis and treatment do not explain the heavier drinking. Family factors should be explored in future studies.

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will be able to described alcohol consumption practices among siblings of childhood cancer survivors in comparison to survivors and peers chosen from a national population-based sample. Next they will be able to identify general risk factors for heavy sibling drinking, along with risk factors particular to the early cancer experience of a brother or sister.

Keywords: Cancer, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the study idea, wrote the abstract, edited it and conducted analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.