Attempts have been made in the past to contact the children and families of those who abandon treatment. There are a very few studies looking at this and their dissemination has been limited to scientific proceedings. The recently published paper from Indonesia (Ref - Sitaresmi et al, Psycho-Oncology, April 2010) is the first extensive analysis of child and parent attitudes and behaviour to explain this complex problem. The authors conducted home-visits to interview families of 37 acute leukaemia patients, diagnosed between January 2004 and August 2007, who refused or abandoned treatment. There was no relation of abandonment with age, risk stratification of leukaemia, class of hospitalization (marker of economic status), parental education level and travel time. Girls abandoned slightly more often but this difference did not reach statistical significance.
Financial difficulties and a belief in the incurability of acute leukemia were the leading reasons given by parents for abandoning treatment. Additionally, treatment-related toxicity, painful procedures performed with inadequate analgesia and sedation, inadequate communication provided by health care providers and transportation difficulties were contributing reasons.