Cancer survivors in the first year after treatment: the prevalence and correlates of unmet needs in different domains

Roy A. Willems*, Catherine A. W. Bolman, Ilse Mesters, Iris M. Kanera, Audrey A. J. M. Beaulen, Lilian Lechner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective To explore cancer survivors' unmet needs in the first year after primary treatment, and to investigate the relationship between demographic, disease-related, and psychosocial characteristics and the number of unmet needs in different domains. MethodsCancer survivors were recruited through eight Dutch hospitals (November 2012-January 2013). In a cross-sectional survey, 255 survivors were asked about unmet needs across several domains (CaSUN) and demographic, disease-related, and psychosocial characteristics, comprising quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30), psychological distress (HADS), mental adjustment (MAC), and problem solving (SPSI-R:S). ResultsSixty-three percent of survivors reported one or more unmet needs (M=5.13, SD=6.98, range=0-34). Common unmet needs concerned emotional support (31.3%), smoking cessation (26.7% of smokers), managing side effects/complications (25.9%), fear of recurrence (23.0%), cancer care (22.0%), social support (22.0%), up-to-date information (19.8%), and carrying out work (19.6%). Regression analysis showed that age, higher education, participation in support programs, anxiety, depression, and negative adjustment style correlated positively, while being female, time since last treatment, and quality of life correlated negatively with the number of unmet needs. Lower number of unmet needs also accounted for other types of cancer (except colon cancer) than breast cancer. These relationships differed per need domain. ConclusionsThe heterogeneity in unmet needs complicates the provision of adequate support for survivors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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