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Behav Med. 2015;41(2):69-76. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2014.889068. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

A closer look at unmet needs at the end of primary treatment for breast cancer: a longitudinal pilot study.

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a Hollings Cancer Center , Medical University of South Carolina.


This study describes the nature of unmet needs (UN) as women with breast cancer transition from "patient" to "survivor." Data are from a longitudinal study of 90 women with stage I-III breast cancer. Data were collected 2-3 weeks before, and 10 weeks after, completion of radiation. A modified Cancer Survivors' Unmet Needs (CaSUN) instrument measured UN. Most participants reported ≥1 unmet need at baseline (80.00%) and follow-up (69.31%), with UN across physical, healthcare, information, psychosocial, and survivorship domains. Total number of UN declined over time, t(87) = 3.00, p < .01. UN likely to persist from baseline to follow-up involved cancer recurrence concerns, stress management, household responsibilities, and others not acknowledging/understanding cancer. Younger women (p = .01) and those with more severe (p < .01), life-interfering (p = .01) symptoms had greater burden of UN. This study highlights the dynamics of UN in the weeks before and after primary treatment. Future studies should identify long-term consequences of persistent UN.


breast cancer; cancer survivorship; supportive care needs; unmet needs

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