Fear of Recurrence as a Predictor of Care Needs for Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors

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Abstract

Background:

The improved survival rate for breast cancer has increased the number of women living with the diagnosis for more than 5 years. Limited studies have focused on the care needs for long-term healthy survivors of breast cancer.

Objective:

The aims of this study were to understand the care needs of long-term breast cancer survivors and identify related factors that influence these needs.

Methods:

A convenience sampling with a correlational study design was used. Women at least 20 years old, who were given a diagnosis of breast cancer at least 5 years, were recruited from 2 hospital clinics in southern Taiwan. A self-administered questionnaire measuring cancer survivors’ unmet needs was administered after obtaining informed consent. Binary logistic regression was used to examine variables associated with unmet care needs.

Results:

Of the 192 women participating, the highest unmet needs related to existential survivorship. The most frequently endorsed unmet need was for an ongoing case manager. Fear of recurrence was associated with 3 aspects including existential survivorship, comprehensive cancer, and quality-of-life unmet needs (odds ratio, 1.14–1.21).

Conclusions:

Even 5 years after the diagnosis and completion of therapy, women continue to report unmet needs. Evaluating women’s fear of recurrence to identify high-risk women with unmet needs is critical to providing quality care.

Implication for Practice:

Developing appropriate survivorship care programs combined with managing concerns regarding recurrence by a nursing case manager is needed.

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