Psychiatric symptoms causing delay in diagnosing childhood cancer: Two case reports and literature review

T. B. Hensgens, E. Bloemer, A. Y.N. Schouten-Van Meeteren, C. M. Zwaan, C. Van Den Bos, C. Huyser, G. J.L. Kaspers

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikel recenserenpeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)


Introduction: A somatic disorder may initially be overlooked when a child presents with psychiatric symptoms. We report two children with anorexia nervosa as initial diagnosis and in whom there was a delay in the final diagnosis of the underlying malignancy. A literature survey was performed including patients under 18 years of age with psychiatric symptoms in whom later on an oncological diagnosis became evident as an explanation. Results: We have found 30 additional cases, with a median delay of 12 months until the diagnosis of the tumour. Overall, 16 boys and 16 girls had a solid tumour: 26 central nervous system tumours, 3 tumours of the gastrointestinal tract and 3 others. In 25 out of 32 patients anorexia nervosa was assumed, although it always appeared to be atypical. Patients younger than 7 years had a significantly longer delay until final diagnosis, while no other patient characteristics correlated with such delay. Discussion: In addition to careful physical (including full neurological) examination, we advise additional neuroimaging especially in each case of atypical presentation of anorexia nervosa, in order to avoid a delay in diagnosis of a possible malignancy. Furthermore, it is desirable to perform a re-examination when a psychiatric disorder does not respond to therapy, in order not to overlook an underlying oncological disease.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)443-450
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Nummer van het tijdschrift7
StatusGepubliceerd - jul. 2013
Extern gepubliceerdJa


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Psychiatric symptoms causing delay in diagnosing childhood cancer: Two case reports and literature review'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit