Dr Maru Barrera

The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr Maru Barrera
Fostering friendship for childhood cancer survivors

While we have made progress in increasing childhood cancer survival, about 2 in 3 survivors experience long-term treatment side effects. These can include problems with social skills, leading survivors to have fewer friends. Dr Maru Barrera and her team developed a group-based social skills program to teach kids skills like cooperation, conflict resolution and being empathic when socially interacting with others at school and at home. She led a clinical trial in survivors of childhood brain cancer to show that the program could improve survivors’ social skills and quality of life, suggesting that it should be offered more broadly to childhood cancer survivors.

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