The unmet emotional, care/support, and informational needs of adult survivors of pediatric malignancies

J Cancer Surviv. 2016 Aug;10(4):743-58. doi: 10.1007/s11764-016-0520-0. Epub 2016 Feb 20.


Purpose: This study describes the prevalence and predisposing factors for potentially modifiable unmet emotional, care/support, and information needs among adult survivors of childhood malignancies.

Methods: A randomly selected/stratified sample of participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) responded to the CCSS-Needs Assessment Questionnaire (CCSS-NAQ) (n = 1189; mean [SD] current age, 39.7 [7.7], range = 26-61 years; 60.9 % women; mean [SD] years since diagnosis, 31.6 [4.7]). Survivors self-reported demographic information, health concerns, and needs; diagnosis/treatment data were obtained from medical records. Adjusted proportional risk ratios (prevalence ratios, PRs) were used to evaluate 77 separate needs.

Results: Fifty-four percent of survivors reported unmet psycho-emotional, 41 % coping, and 35 % care/support needs; 51, 35, and 33 %, respectively, reported unmet information needs related to cancer/treatment, the health care system, and surveillance. Female sex and annual income <$60K were associated with multiple needs; fewer needs were linked to diagnosis/years since/or age at diagnosis. Having moderate/extreme cancer-related anxiety/fear was associated with all needs, including a >6-fold increased prevalence for help dealing with "worry" (PR = 6.06; 95 % confidence interval [CI], 3.79-9.69) and anxiety (PR = 6.10; 95 % CI, 3.82-9.72) and a >5-fold increased prevalence for "needing to move on with life" (PR = 5.56; 95 % CI, 3.34-9.25) and dealing with "uncertainty about the future" (PR = 5.50; 95 % CI, 3.44-8.77). Radiation exposure and perceived health status were related to 42 and 29 needs, respectively.

Conclusions: Demographic factors, disease/treatment characteristics, and intrapersonal factors can be used to profile survivors' unmet emotional, care/support, and information needs.

Implications for cancer survivors: These data can be used to enhance provider-survivor communication, identify at-risk subsamples, and appraise core intervention content.

Keywords: Cancer; Childhood cancer; Health-related needs; Oncology; Survivors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*