A comparative analysis of the health and well-being of cancer survivors to the general population

Support Care Cancer. 2012 Oct;20(10):2545-52. doi: 10.1007/s00520-011-1372-9. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Background: The population of people surviving cancer is continually increasing and currently cancer survivors represent approximately 3.7% of the American population and 3% of the UK population. There is limited and inconclusive empirical evidence regarding the long-term health and well-being of cancer survivors.

Methods: Two hundred eighty-nine cancer survivors and 262 matched-age and sex patients from the same group of General (primary care) Practices completed postal questionnaires measuring health and well-being, health service utilisation and satisfaction and health care needs.

Main results: Cancer survivors reported poorer health and well-being and health service utilisation than the general population. Despite this poorer health, the majority of cancer survivors reported satisfaction with services and almost two-thirds of the survivors did not report any needs.

Conclusions: The majority of cancer survivors do not appear to require additional support services. There is, however, a subgroup of survivors who warrant specialist support, particularly survivors who are older, experience late effects and have had adjuvant treatments. Future research should focus on developing methods that could be used in routine clinical practice to identify 'at risk' or vulnerable patients and to provide appropriate and timely support.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*