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04.07.2019 | Ausgabe 4/2019

Journal of Cancer Survivorship 4/2019

Unmet supportive care needs in young adult cancer patients: associations and changes over time. Results from the AYA-Leipzig study

Journal of Cancer Survivorship > Ausgabe 4/2019
Annekathrin Sender, Michael Friedrich, Katja Leuteritz, Erik Nowe, Yve Stöbel-Richter, Anja Mehnert, Kristina Geue
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Coping with cancer at a young adult age (AYA) is a challenge for many patients and raises support needs. We aim to examine unmet supportive care needs and to investigate predictors of and changes in unmet needs over time.


We surveyed AYAs (18–39 years at time of diagnosis, diagnosis < 4 years) at two time points (t2 = 12 months after t1) using the Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-SF34) among other validated measures. We conducted multiple hierarchical regressions to identify sociodemographic, medical and psychosocial predictors of unmet needs.


A total of 514 AYAs (386 women) with a mean age of 29.6 years participated at both times. Psychological needs (Mt1 = 35.7; Mt2 = 32.09; p = 0.001) and informational needs (Mt1 = 32.18; Mt2 = 29.04; p = 0.021) were the most often reported unmet needs at both measurements and decreased slightly at t2. All other SCNS domains, except for patient care, remained stable over time. Higher supportive needs were associated with greater levels of effort to cope with the disease at both times in all domains. Older age and female gender were significantly associated with two and one of six domains, respectively, at t1 and t2.


AYAs reported primarily unmet psychological and informational needs, which were stable over time and indicated that AYAs do not have sufficient access to the support they need. The degree of effort to cope with cancer plays a key role in terms of unmet support needs.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Regular screening for this variable in acute and especially follow-up care settings could pave the way for clinicians to offer more targeted support.

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