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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2019

Unmet needs and related factors of Korean breast cancer survivors: a multicenter, cross-sectional study

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2019
Byung Joo Chae, Jihyoun Lee, Se Kyung Lee, Hyuk-Jae Shin, So-Youn Jung, Jong Won Lee, Zisun Kim, Min Hyuk Lee, Juhyung Lee, Hyun Jo Youn
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12885-019-6064-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Byung Joo Chae and Jihyoun Lee contributed equally to this study as co-first authors.

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Identification of specific needs in patients with cancer is very important for the provision of patient-centered medical service. The aim of this study was to investigate the unmet needs and related factors of Korean breast cancer survivors.


A multicenter, cross-sectional, interview survey was performed among 332 Korean breast cancer survivors. The Comprehensive Needs Assessment Tool for cancer patients was administered to survivors who gave written informed consent to participate. Data were analyzed using t-test, ANOVA and multiple regression analysis.


The level of unmet needs was highest in the domain ‘Information and education’ (mean ± SD; 1.70 ± 1.14) and the item with the highest level of unmet needs was ‘Needed help in coping with fear of recurrence’ (2.04 ± 1.09). Unmet needs were correlated with age, stage, multiplicity, HER2, treatment state, marital status, employment, psychosocial status, and problems in EQ-5D dimensions. In multiple regression analysis, the 50–59 age group showed a higher level of recognition for physical symptom needs and the unemployed group expressed greater needs for information and education. Survivors with multiplicity had greater needs in the domains of healthcare staff and physical symptom. The stress group showed high levels of needs in all domains except religious support. The group with thoughts of suicide showed higher levels of unmet needs for physical symptom.


Most prevalent unmet needs in Korean breast cancer survivors were found in the ‘information and education’ domain. The 50–59 age group, unemployment, multiplicity, stress and suicidal thoughts were associated with higher levels of unmet needs among Korean breast cancer survivors. Our findings revealed more vulnerable breast cancer survivors with unmet needs and physicians should take a precision approach to satisfy unmet needs of these survivors.
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