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Dan Med J. 2014 Jun;61(6):A4855.

Current organisation of follow-up does not meet cancer patients' needs.

Author information

Quality & Patient Safety, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.



For cancer patients, traditional follow-up care is considered unsuitable and unsustainable. The patient perspective seems often to be absent in the ongoing debate about alternative strategies for follow-up care. Based on a national survey from 2012, the objective of this study was to examine cancer patients' support needs regarding physiological and emotional problems during follow-up and to identify factors associated with their needs and any unmet needs.


Patients diagnosed with cancer in the period from April to September 2010 were invited to participate. A total of 4,401 patients responded (response rate = 64%). The risks in terms of prevalence rate ratios of having needs and unmet needs for both physiological and emotional problems were estimated using the Poisson regression.


The study showed that 60% of the patients had needs for support regarding physiological and emotional problems, and half of the patients reported unmet needs. Younger patients and patients with co-morbidity were more likely to report needs and unmet needs for physiological and emotional support. Treatment complexity and setting of follow-up were not associated with unmet needs.


The study underlines that the current organisation of follow-up does not meet cancer patients' needs. Several factors are associated with both needs and unmet needs. Hence, a more sustainable approach for follow-up care may consist in stratification tailored to the patients' different needs. In such an approach, more focus should be on age-specific needs and the impact of co-morbidity.


The study is funded by the Danish Cancer Society.


The study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (J. no. 2010-41-4694). According to the Danish Act on Research Ethics Review of Health Research Projects (S. 8(3) of Act No. 402 of 28 May 2003), no ethical approval was needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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