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Keywords:

  • cancer survivors;
  • perceived needs;
  • psychometrics;
  • supportive care

Abstract

Background: Many cancer survivors experience ongoing morbidity over the survivorship continuum and their supportive care needs have yet to be comprehensively assessed.

Methods: This study aimed to develop and empirically evaluate a self-report measure of cancer survivors' supportive care needs. In Phase I, questionnaire items were generated based upon previous qualitative research that identified both unique and shared needs in survivors and their partners; items were constructed into the Cancer Survivors' Unmet Needs measure (CaSUN). In Phase 2, the CaSUN was completed by 353 cancer survivors who had been diagnosed with cancer between 1 and 15 years earlier and were currently disease-free.

Results: After modification, the CaSUN included 35 unmet need items, 6 positive change items and an open-ended question. Good acceptability, internal consistency and validity were demonstrated, although test–retest reliability was low. Maximum likelihood factor analysis identified five discrete factors: Existential Survivorship, Comprehensive Care, Information, Quality of Life and Relationships.

Conclusions: Preliminary data indicates that the CaSUN meets the majority of psychometric criteria for assessment measures, although its low test–retest reliability awaits further investigation. The CaSUN will facilitate the evaluation of supportive care services and generation of service delivery recommendations for cancer survivors. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.