01.12.2015 | Ausgabe 4/2015
Anxiety and fear of cancer recurrence and its association with supportive care needs and health-care service utilization in cancer patients
Journal of Cancer Survivorship
- Susanne Sarkar, Leon Sautier, Georgia Schilling, Carsten Bokemeyer, Uwe Koch, Anja Mehnert
Purpose and methods
We investigated the relationship between fear of cancer recurrence (FCR), anxiety, supportive care needs, and utilization of health-care services in a mixed sample of 335 cancer patients. We used validated questionnaires including the Fear of Progression Questionnaire-Short Form (FoP-Q-SF), the General Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and the Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-SF34). Health-care services utilization was measured by a self-constructed questionnaire recording the use of 22 health and supportive care offers.
In our sample, 3.9 % of patients were classified as having high anxiety and 5.1 % had high FCR. Patients reported the highest unmet supportive care needs in the domain health system and information followed by psychological needs. Integrated care and complementary support services were the most frequently used (32 %) followed by medical (31 %), psychological (23 %), spiritual and religious (8 %) and other support services (9 %). Whereas anxiety was related to both unmet psychological and physical/daily living needs (p < 0.01), FCR was associated with unmet supportive care needs in all five domains further including needs with regard to health system and information, patient care, and sexuality (p < 0.01). However, higher levels of anxiety and FCR were not related to higher utilization of health-care services.
Our findings show that FCR plays a significant role in unmet supportive care needs in cancer patients but not for health-care service utilization.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
We recommend that clinicians monitor supportive care needs in patients struggling with FCR and anxiety.