Needs assessment of cancer survivors in Connecticut

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Abstract

Introduction

There are knowledge gaps regarding the needs of cancer survivors in Connecticut and their utilization of supportive services.

Methods

A convenience sample of cancer survivors residing in Connecticut were invited to complete a self-administered (print or online) needs assessment (English or Spanish). Participants identified commonly occurring problems and completed a modified version of the Supportive Care Needs Survey Short Form (SNCS-SF34) assessing needs across five domains (psychosocial, health systems/information, physical/daily living, patient care /support, and sexuality).

Results

The majority of the 1,516 cancer survivors (76.4%) were women, 47.5% had completed high school or some college, 66.1% were diagnosed ≤5 years ago, and 87.7% were non-Hispanic white. The breast was the most common site (47.6%), followed by the prostate, colorectal, lung, and melanoma. With multivariate adjustment, need on the SCNS-SF34 was greatest among women, younger survivors, those diagnosed within the past year, those not free of cancer, and Hispanics/Latinos. We also observed some differences by insurance and education status. In addition, we assessed the prevalence of individual problems, with the most common being weight gain/loss, memory changes, paying for care, communication, and not being told about services.

Conclusions

Overall and domain specific needs in this population of cancer survivors were relatively low, although participants reported a wide range of problems. Greater need was identified among cancer survivors who were female, younger, Hispanic/Latino, and recently diagnosed.

Implications for cancer survivors

These findings can be utilized to target interventions and promote access to available resources for Connecticut cancer survivors.

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