Perceived symptoms and the supportive care needs of breast cancer survivors six months to five years post-treatment period.

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Perceived symptoms and the supportive care needs of breast cancer survivors six months to five years post-treatment period.

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2014 Feb;18(1):3-9

Authors: Cheng KK, Darshini Devi R, Wong WH, Koh C

Abstract
PURPOSE: This study characterized the range and levels of perceived symptoms and unmet needs reported by breast cancer survivors in the half-year to five year post-treatment period, and determined whether the symptoms can be a predictor of unmet needs.
METHODS: In a cross-sectional study, 150 breast cancer survivors (mean age: 55.1 ± 8 years) at the half-year to five year post-treatment period were enrolled for analysis. The measuring scales used included the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS), and the Supportive Care Needs Survey Short Form (SCNS-SF34).
RESULTS: 88% of the survivors reported having at least one symptom, while 51% reported at least one unmet need. Lack of energy was the most prevalent symptom (47%), followed by numbness/tingling in hands/feet (41%). Most of the survivors had unmet needs in the Health care system/Information domain (37% reported at least one unmet need for help), followed by Psychological needs (29%). The mean scores for the SCNS-SF34 domains, except for sexuality, were significantly higher in the high-symptom group (mean 17.6-32.2) compared with the low-symptom group (mean 3.5-22.3) (p < 0.01). Regression of the SCNS-SF34 domain scores against the MSAS scores revealed an increase in the explained variance of from 14% to 54%.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that breast cancer survivors continue to experience a multitude of symptoms, and the burden of symptoms may be associated with unmet needs across a range of domains.

PMID: 24315730 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]