The unmet supportive care needs of patients with cancer

Rob Sanson-Fisher, Afaf Girgis, Allison Boyes, Billie Bonevski, Louise Burton, Peter Cook, New South Wales Cancer Council Supportive Care Review Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

649 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and predictors of the perceived unmet needs of cancer patients undergoing treatment for their disease at public treatment centers. METHODS. A total of 1492 consecutive patients attending the surgical, radiation, or medical oncology departments of 9 major public cancer treatment centers in New South Wales, Australia, were asked to participate. Of the 1370 eligible patients, 1354 (99%) consented to participate and 888 (65%) returned completed surveys. Eligible consenting patients were given a Supportive Care Needs Survey to complete at home and return by mail within 7 days. RESULTS. Patients' perceived needs were assessed across the following five areas: psychologic, health system and information, physical and daily living, patient care and support, and sexuality. Patients' perceived needs were highest in the psychologic, health system and information, and physical and daily living domains. Logistic regression modeling revealed subgroups of patients with different types of needs. The significant predictors of reporting some unmet need for help varied according to the domain examined. CONCLUSIONS. This statewide study shows that cancer patients experience high levels of unmet needs across the range of domains examined. The study provides information that may be valuable in identifying areas where interventions could be tested and evaluated in an attempt to address the unmet needs of people living with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-237
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Patients
  • Perceived needs
  • Statistics
  • Supportive care

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