Women reported financial needs or system-of-care needs. The latter were related to the health care system, including constraints and flaws that affected early detection, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, continuity of care, and inadequate response from health care providers. Women also reported having resource needs related to availability and access to supplies, equipment, therapies, and medications—including alternative and complementary—and transportation services.

They also discussed their emotional and mental health issues, their need for social support, and difficulty communicating. Communication needs were related to discourse (talking) and information exchange (explaining) about cancer and the cancer experience with others (eg, their doctor and family/friends/employers) and among medical providers.

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The researchers wrote that older survivors had more current needs regarding physical or personal control problems. Younger survivors discussed financial difficulties, as well as emotional and mental health problems. Although Black and Hispanic survivors brought up financial problems most frequently, 20% of all respondents said the cost of treatment was still an issue long after they were finished with it.

All patient groups were concerned about recurrence, and all of the survivors cited a need for more cancer-related information and education. The authors noted that knowing how a patient’s experience of unmet needs potentially affects physical and psychological outcomes is important information, especially for oncologists, rehabilitation specialists, and primary care providers who care for cancer survivors.


1. Burg MA, Adorno G, Lopez ED, et al. Current unmet needs of cancer survivors: Analysis of open-ended responses to the American Cancer Society Study of Cancer Survivors II [published online ahead of print January 12, 2015]. CANCER. 2015;121(4):623-630. doi:10.1002/cncr.28951.