Table of Contents
ISRN Rehabilitation
Volume 2014, Article ID 945472, 10 pages
Research Article

Supportive Care Needs following Cancer Treatment: A Comparison of Breast and Brain Cancer in an Australian Cohort

1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 34-54 Poplar Road, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria 3052, Australia
2Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia
3School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

Received 15 November 2013; Accepted 16 December 2013; Published 20 January 2014

Academic Editors: H. Jia, K. Nas, and C. Zwingmann

Copyright © 2014 Bhasker Amatya et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To assess and identify patient-reported supportive care needs following definitive treatment in persons with breast cancer (BC) and primary brain tumours (gliomas) (BT) in an Australian community cohort and to assess the commonalities and/or discrepancies of the reported needs in these oncological populations. Methods. A prospective cross-sectional survey of persons with BC ( ) and BT ( ) using questionnaires for supportive care needs, psychological morbidity, and quality of life. Results. BT participants were younger than BC patients (mean ages 51 and 57 years). The median time since diagnosis for both groups was over 2 years. The level of psychological morbidity, mainly depression, was high in both groups: BC (22%) and BT (20%). Participants in both groups reported at least one need (“met” or “unmet”). The BC patients reported higher numbers of “needs” and “unmet” needs compared with BT patients (mean 13.7 versus 11.6 needs; “unmet” needs mean 6.0 versus 4.1). The common “met” and “unmet” needs highlighted by both groups were comparable; the domain for most “met” needs included comprehensive cancer care, while “unmet” needs related to existential survivorship issues. Conclusion. Despite successful treatment many cancer survivors experience unmet supportive care needs in longer term. Understanding the impact of these beyond the acute phase is important as care shifts to community settings. More research in existential survivorship issues is needed.