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J Fam Pract. 2014 Oct;63(10):E7-16.

What are cancer survivors' needs and how well are they being met?

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA. Email:



This study sought to identify the needs and unmet needs of the growing number of adult cancer survivors.


Vermont survivor advocates partnered with academic researchers to create a survivor registry and conduct a cross-sectional survey of cancer-related needs and unmet needs of adult survivors. The mailed survey addressed 53 specific needs in 5 domains based on prior research, contributions from the research partners, and pilot testing. Results were summarized by computing proportions who reported having needs met or unmet.


Survey participants included 1668 of 2005 individuals invited from the survivor registry (83%); 65.7% were ages 60 or older and 61.9% were women. These participants had received their diagnosis 2 to 16 years earlier; 77.5% had been diagnosed ≥5 years previously; 30.2% had at least one unmet need in the emotional, social, and spiritual (E) domain; just 14.4% had at least one unmet need in the economic and legal domain. The most commonly identified individual unmet needs were in the E and the information (I) domains and included “help reducing stress” (14.8% of all respondents) and “information about possible after effects of treatment” (14.4%).


Most needs of these longerterm survivors were met, but substantial proportions of survivors identified unmet needs. Unmet needs such as information about late and long-term adverse effects of treatment could be met within clinical care with a cancer survivor care plan, but some survivors may require referral to services focused on stress and coping.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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