Cancer patients' needs for rehabilitation services

Acta Oncol. 2011 Feb;50(2):212-22. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2010.531050.


Purpose: To examine cancer patients' needs for rehabilitation services and factors associated with such needs, and secondly identify unmet needs for rehabilitation services and related factors.

Material and methods: In 2008 persons aged 25-60 years, diagnosed in 2005/2006 with the ten most prevalent cancers in Norway were identified through the Cancer Registry of Norway. These patients were contacted by their treating hospital receiving a mailed questionnaire. Main outcomes for the present study were measured by two questions assessing a) needs for rehabilitation services and b) rehabilitation services offered/used. For each question seven services were listed; physical therapy, physical training, psychological counseling, consultations with social worker, occupational therapy, supportive group sessions and admittance to a convalescent home. The respondents then rated to what extent they had experienced needs and if they had been offered and used each service. Those who reported need for a service that not had been offered were defined as having unmet need. Associations between demographic, health-related and outcome variables were analyzed by multivariate logistic and linear regression analyses.

Results: Among the 1 325 respondents, the mean age was 52 years and 70% were women. Sixty-three percent reported need for at least one rehabilitation service. Need for physical therapy was most frequently reported (43%), followed by physical training (34%), psychological counseling (27%), supportive group sessions (24%), admittance to a convalescent home (24%), consultation with social worker (19%) and occupational therapy (6%). Changes in employment status and ongoing or previous chemotherapy were associated with reporting needs for all rehabilitation services. Forty percent reported unmet needs, which most frequently was reported among persons living alone, who had changed their employment status, receiving or had received chemotherapy or reported comorbidities.

Conclusions: The majority reported need for at least one rehabilitation service, and 40% reported unmet needs. Prospective studies are recommended in order to better understand needs for rehabilitation services, such as needs in relation to time since treatment, extent of disease and treatment intensity.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires