Post-Treatment Health and Wellness Priorities Among Cancer Survivors

November 2018 Vol 9, NO 11
Caitlin Mason, PhD
Department of Health Services
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Jennifer Haase Morris, MBA
American Cancer Society
Living the Intention, S.P.C. (facilitator)
Seattle, WA
Marlee Fisher, MPH
Department of Health Services
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Patti Migliore Santiago, MAOM
Washington State Department of Health
Olympia, WA
Peggy Hannon, PhD, MPH
Department of Health Services
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Background: Survivorship care recommendations exist to support a large and growing population of cancer survivors, yet little is known about survivors’ ongoing unmet needs.

Objectives: To understand cancer survivors’ posttreatment health and wellness priorities and preferences.

Methods: The American Cancer Society facilitated a series of 8 focus groups (n = 63 survivors) in 3 states between October 2016 and March 2017. Participants were mostly female (76%) but varied in age, cancer diagnosis, and time since first diagnosis. Semistructured questions guided discussion about survivors’ health and wellness needs and desired support; a ranking exercise prioritized topics affecting survivorship. Survivors’ unmet needs and health priorities were captured in their own words.

Results: Focus group participants articulated unmet information needs, particularly about the late and long-term effects of treatment, as well as resource and support needs for healthy living, ongoing rehabilitation, psychosocial health, returning to work, and dealing with the financial impact of cancer. Healthy living was identified as being most important to ongoing health and wellness among the majority (56%) of group participants.

Discussion: Survivor participants desired ongoing support after treatment for a broad range of issues affecting health and wellness, most notably healthy living. Existing resources could help address many unmet needs among cancer survivors.

Conclusion: Incorporating the “voice of the survivor” into the delivery of survivorship care planning and resources may increase the saliency and reach of existing resources to better address the ongoing and unmet needs of cancer survivors.

Note: Manuscript has been published in Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship, October 2018.

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Last modified: December 19, 2018

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