A longitudinal investigation of Western Australian families impacted by parental cancer with adolescent and young adult offspring

Julia N. Morris, Ian Zajac, Deborah Turnbull, David Preen, Pandora Patterson, Angelita Martini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Parental cancer is a significant problem for adolescent and young adult offspring. To understand the extent of the problem of parental cancer for Australian offspring, data regarding those impacted are required. The aim of this study was to enumerate and describe the characteristics of Western Australian adolescent and young adult offspring (12–24 years) and their parents with cancer using linked population data. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using data from the Western Australia Data Linkage System, which provided results generalisable at a national level. Results: Between 1982 and 2015, 57,708 offspring were impacted by 34,600 parents’ incident malignant cancer diagnoses. The most common diagnosis was breast cancer. Of the 36.4% of parents who died, this was mostly a result of cancer. Most families resided in regional areas and were of high or middle socioeconomic status. Significant predictors of earlier parent death included low socioeconomic status, remoteness, age, having more children and having older children. Conclusion: A considerable number of adolescent and young adult offspring are impacted by parental cancer at a potentially vulnerable age. This research provides knowledge to better understand who is affected by parental cancer in Australia. Implications for public health: These results may be useful for planning and implementation of Australian supportive services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

'This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.'


  • cancer
  • data linkage
  • offspring
  • parental cancer


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