Objectives: To explore the supportive care needs of cancer survivors, the characteristics of patients with high levels of unmet need, changes in unmet need after treatment ends and differences in unmet needs of breast, colorectal and testicular survivors. Methods: The method used was a prospective longitudinal mailed survey. Unmet needs, measured by 25-item modified Cancer Survivors Unmet Needs survey at baseline (immediately post-treatment) and 8 months later, were analysed descriptively. Results: Of 434 breast, 186 colorectal and 75 testicular patients responding at baseline, 56.2%, 65.6% and 50.7%, respectively, had no unmet needs, the top decile having ≥10 (breast) or seven (colorectal and testicular) different needs and seven different unmet needs. The most frequently reported unmet need (all groups) was fear of cancer recurrence. Unmet needs fell significantly at 8 months for breast patients. Some patients reported new needs. Needs were lowest amongst colorectal survivors and differed between the three groups. Higher levels of unmet needs (breast and colorectal) were associated with having had chemotherapy. Conclusion: Most survivors reported few unmet needs, but a small proportion have persisting or emerging needs. Routine or regular monitoring of unmet needs is required so that healthcare professionals can deliver personalised care based on individual needs, preferences and circumstances.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
FunderNational Cancer Survivorship Initiative (Department of Health England), and Macmillan Cancer Support, Registered Charity England. Grant Number: 261017
- breast cancer
- colorectal cancer
- testicular cancer
- unmet needs
ASJC Scopus subject areas