A closer look at unmet needs at the end of primary treatment for breast cancer: A longitudinal pilot study

Jessica L. Burris, Kent Armeson, Katherine Regan Sterba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study describes the nature of unmet needs (UN) as women with breast cancer transition from "patient" to "survivor." Data are from a longitudinal study of 90 women with stage I-III breast cancer. Data were collected 2-3 weeks before, and 10 weeks after, completion of radiation. A modified Cancer Survivors Unmet Needs (CaSUN) instrument measured UN. Most participants reported ≥1 unmet need at baseline (80.00%) and follow-up (69.31%), with UN across physical, healthcare, information, psychosocial, and survivorship domains. Total number of UN declined over time, t(87) = 3.00, p <.01. UN likely to persist from baseline to follow-up involved cancer recurrence concerns, stress management, household responsibilities, and others not acknowledging/understanding cancer. Younger women (p =.01) and those with more severe (p <.01), life-interfering (p =.01) symptoms had greater burden of UN. This study highlights the dynamics of UN in the weeks before and after primary treatment. Future studies should identify long-term consequences of persistent UN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
An American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant from the Hollings Cancer Center and the National Institute of Health grants UL1TR000062 and P30CA138313 supported this research. The American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant in Applied and Clinical Research grant MRSG-12-221-01-CPPB supported Dr. Sterba during this research. The National Institute of Health grant T32DA007288 supported Dr. Burris during this research.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • breast cancer
  • cancer survivorship
  • supportive care needs
  • unmet needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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