Unmet needs and depression among carers of people newly diagnosed with cancer

Leila Heckel, Kate Fennell, John Reynolds, Richard Osborne, Jacquie Chirgwin, Mari Botti, David Ashley, Patricia Livingston

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    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims The aims of this analysis were to examine levels of unmet needs and depression among carers of people newly diagnosed with cancer and to identify groups who may be at higher risk, by examining relationships with demographic characteristics. Methods One hundred and fifty dyads of people newly diagnosed with cancer and their carers, aged 18 years and older, were recruited from four Australian hospitals. People with cancer receiving adjuvant cancer treatment with curative intent, were eligible to participate. Carers completed the Supportive Care Needs Survey-Partners & Caregivers (SCNS-P&C45), and both carers and patients completed the Centre of Epidemiologic-Depression Scale (CES-D). Results Overall, 57% of carers reported at least one, 37% at least three, 31% at least five, and 15% at least 10 unmet needs; the most commonly endorsed unmet needs were in the domains of information and health care service needs. Thirty percent of carers and 36% of patients were at risk of clinical depression. A weak to moderate positive relationship was observed between unmet needs and carer depression (r = 0.30, p < 0.001). Carer levels of unmet needs were significantly associated with carer age, hospital type, treatment type, cancer type, living situation, relationship status (in both uni- and multi-factor analysis); person with cancer age and carer level of education (in unifactor analysis only); but not with carer gender or patient gender (in both uni- and multi-factor analyses). Conclusion Findings highlight the importance of developing tailored programmes to systematically assist carers who are supporting patients through the early stages of cancer treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number9534
    Pages (from-to)2049-2057
    Number of pages9
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Cancer
    • Carers
    • Depression
    • Oncology
    • Unmet needs


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