Unmet supportive care needs of indigenous cancer patients in Queensland: preliminary results of a prospective, longitudinal study (#326)
Supportive care needs are many and high for Indigenous cancer survivors . Understanding unmet needs is critical for planning supportive care that is responsive to the specific needs of Indigenous cancer survivors.
Aims: To examine how Indigenous cancer survivors’ unmet needs change over time and their prevalence specifically at 6 months post-diagnosis.
Methods: Indigenous cancer patients (newly diagnosed or post-relapse) receiving treatment in one of four Queensland hospitals were interviewed face-to-face. The Supportive Care Needs Assessment Tool for Indigenous People (39 items)  was used to collect data. We describe the unmet needs of the first 158 consecutive patients who completed an interview at enrolment and three months later. We have also analysed data at 6 months post-diagnosis for 107 of these patients.
Results: Overall, 60% of participants were female, with an average age of 52 years. They were most commonly diagnosed with breast (25%), head & neck (11%), gynaecological cancer (11%), or leukaemia/lymphoma (10%); mean time since diagnosis was 14 months (SD=27).
At enrolment, 92 patients (58%) reported at least one ‘moderate-to-high’ unmet need [most commonly: ‘money worries’ (24%), ‘worrying about your illness spreading’ (17%), and ‘concerns about the worries of those close to you’ (17%)].
At 3 months from enrolment, 69 patients (44%) reported at least one ‘moderate-to-high’ unmet need [most commonly: ‘money worries’ (17%), ‘worrying about your illness spreading’ (14%), and ‘worry about the results of treatment’ (13%)].
At 6 months post-diagnosis, 57 patients (53%) reported at least one ‘moderate-to-high’ unmet need [most commonly: ‘money worries’ (25%), ‘being told about things you can do to help yourself get well’ (10%), ‘doing things you used to do’ (10%)].
Conclusions: Over a 3-month period, there was a reduction in the proportion of Indigenous cancer survivors with unmet needs. Data suggests that unmet supportive care needs at 6 months from diagnosis are high.
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