Implementing Screening for Eating Disorders in Adolescents and Young
Adults with a History of Cancer
Background Eating disorders are prevalent in the adolescent and
young adult population, with 2.7% of adolescents effected. The American
Academy of Pediatrics recommends yearly screening for eating disorders
in adolescents. Even with this recommendation, eating disorders often go
underdiagnosed. AYAs with cancer possess several risk factors for eating
disorders that may place them at an even higher risk, including
receiving weight-altering therapies and having their weight/nutrition
emphasized. Since these patients see their oncology team frequently,
oncology clinics are opportune settings for eating disorder screening.
This describes a single-institution study to implement screening for
eating disorders in AYA patients in an oncology clinic.
Procedures During regularly scheduled oncology visits, eligible
patients were given the SCOFF questionnaire. Patients with an oncologic
diagnosis aged 13 and older were screened. Patients with known eating
disorders and patients receiving cytotoxic therapy were excluded. The
questionnaire was scored by a study team member. Patients with a
positive screening were referred to adolescent medicine.
Results 163 eligible patients filled out the SCOFF
questionnaire with 11 positive results (6.75%). Conclusions
Our results demonstrate that eating disorder screening was successfully
implemented in our pediatric oncology clinic. With a rate more than
double than the general population, we observed that AYA patients with a
history of cancer are indeed at a higher risk for eating disorders and
should undergo routine screening. Since these patients have frequent
oncology appointments, oncology clinics should implement screening for
eating disorders. Further studies are needed to develop appropriate
screening methods for on therapy patients.