Introduction: Limited information is available about rural cancer survivors' needs and if they differ from urban cancer survivors.
Methods: A convenience sample of cancer survivors completed a self-administered survey.
Results: Rural Appalachia (n = 99) and urban non-Appalachia (n = 107) cancer survivors completed the survey. Urban survivors reported more needs than rural survivors (p < 0.001), but worry about cancer recurrence and concern about fatigue were reported most often by both urban and rural survivors. Urban survivors (n = 87; 81.3%) and rural survivors (n = 72; 72.9%) indicated that they searched for cancer information, but rural survivors were more likely to obtain information from family members and healthcare providers (p < 0.05). Rural survivors differed from urban survivors by reporting less effort to get the information they needed (p < 0.05) and less concern about the quality of the information (p < 0.01), but they reported having a harder time understanding the information they found (p < 0.05).
Discussion: Rural and urban survivors' most frequent needs focused on cancer recurrence and fatigue. Rural survivors reported fewer needs compared to urban survivors; however, our findings suggest certain needs may be more important to rural survivors. While most survivors reported searching for information about cancer, rural and urban survivors use different sources for finding information and have varying experiences in their searches.
Implications for cancer survivors: There is an ongoing need to provide survivorship care that is tailored to the unique needs of cancer survivors. It is essential to provide educational materials for all cancer survivors, but using different communication channels for urban versus rural survivors may be beneficial.