Fear of recurrence high among cancer survivors
Cancer survivors commonly fear the recurrence of their malignancy, which may be an important consideration in the supportive care needs of survivors, a new Hong Kong study has found. On the other hand, such fear does not seem to affect the use of psychosocial services.
The researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 311 cancer survivors (mean age, 51.5 years; 68.2 percent female), recruited within 5 years of survivorship. An online survey was used to assess their fear of recurrence (Fear of Progression Questionnaire-Short Form), supportive care needs (34-item Supportive Care Needs-Short Form), and utilization of psychosocial services.
The mean overall score in the Fear of Progression questionnaire was 30.5±9.0; at a cut-off score of ≥34 points, 38.3 percent (n=119) participants were deemed to fear recurrence.
According to hierarchical linear regression analysis, fear of cancer recurrence was significantly associated with all domains of supportive care need: physical and daily living (B, 28.93±2.24; p<0.001), psychological (B, 39.58±2.19; p<0.001), sexuality (B, 8.73±2.39; p<0.001), patient care and support (B, 33.07±2.59; p<0.001), and health system and information needs (B, 27.06±2.68; p<0.001).
In contrast, fear of recurrence was not associated the use of psychosocial services. This was true for all domains (informational/educational healthcare services, well-being support services, and social activities/interest classes), and despite the fact that the use of at least one such service was highly prevalent (90.7 percent).
“There is an increasing demand to bridge the service gap between the need for and the use of mental health and psychological well-being services. Future research may benefit from a qualitative exploration of the experience of psychosocial services utilization among local cancer survivors with fear of cancer recurrence,” the researchers said.