Patient-Reported Unmet Needs in Colorectal Cancer Survivors after Treatment for Curative Intent

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: With improving survival from colorectal cancer, there is a growing population of patients undergoing surveillance. National accreditation organizations have increasingly endorsed formal survivorship care planning. To effectively design patient-centered survivorship programs, an understanding of the prevalence of unmet psychosocial and symptomatic needs is required. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to understand the breadth of unmet needs among survivors of colorectal cancer. DESIGN: This is a cross-sectional survey of patients undergoing surveillance after curative-intent therapy for colorectal cancer. SETTING: This study was conducted June 2017 to January 2018 at an academic cancer center. PATIENTS: There were 99 patients (58 with colon cancer, 41 with rectal cancer). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We measured patient-reported unmet needs by using a modification of the Cancer Survivor Unmet Needs instrument, within domains of emotional (stress, concerns about recurrence), relationship (fertility, interpersonal), logistical (need for accessible parking, case management), financial, treatment-related (neuropathy, bowel function), and surveillance-related needs. RESULTS: The mean (±SD) age was 58 (±12), and the time from diagnosis was 34 (±18) months. Overall, 74% of patients reported at least one unmet need, 49% reported emotional needs, 24% relationship needs, 24% financial needs, 25% logistical needs, and 33% surveillance needs. Thirty-six (62%) patients with colon cancer and 37 (90%) patients with rectal cancer reported at least one ongoing problem (p = 0.002). Thirty-five (82%) patients with rectal cancer reported an unmet treatment-related need in comparison with 23 (40%) patients with colon cancer (p < 0.001). The median (interquartile range) number of ongoing needs were 1 (0–5) in patients with colon cancer and 4 (2–8) in patients with rectal cancer (p = 0.007). LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by its small sample size and lack of generalizability, given the tertiary care setting. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of colorectal cancer survivors reported unmet needs years after completion of curative-intent therapy. Patients with rectal cancer were significantly more likely to have unmet needs and may benefit from additional care during survivorship. Colorectal cancer survivorship programs should incorporate psychosocial and symptomatic care in addition to cancer surveillance.
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    Author List

  • Vu JVT; Matusko N; Hendren S; Regenbogen SE; Hardiman KM
  • Start Page

  • 815
  • End Page

  • 822
  • Volume

  • 62
  • Issue

  • 7