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

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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.


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.


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.


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).


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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