Changes in supportive care needs after first-line treatment for ovarian cancer: identifying care priorities and risk factors for future unmet needs


Correspondence to: Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Gynaecological Cancers Group, Locked Bag 2000, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia. E-mail:



The objective of this paper is to determine changes in supportive care needs after first-line treatment for ovarian cancer and identify risk factors for future unmet needs.


Two hundred and nineteen women with ovarian cancer were asked to complete a baseline survey 6–12 months after diagnosis then follow-up surveys every 6 months for up to 2 years. The validated Supportive Care Needs Survey-Short Form measured 34 needs across five domains. Logistic regression identified baseline variables associated with future needs.


At baseline, standardized median scores (possible range 0–100, least-to-greatest need) within the psychological, system/information, physical, patient care and sexuality need domains were 25, 20, 15, 15 and 8, respectively. The most frequently reported moderate-to-high unmet needs at baseline were needing help with fear about cancer spreading (25%), concerns about worries of those close (20%), being informed about things to help get well (20%), uncertainty about future (19%) and lack of energy (18%). All except the item about being informed were still reported as unmet needs by ≥15% of women 2 years later. Median health system/information, patient care and sexuality need scores decreased over 2 years (p < 0.05), whereas psychological and physical scores remained constant. Risk factors for having ≥1 moderate-to-high unmet overall, psychological or physical need 1–2 years after baseline included older age, advanced disease, unmet need, anxiety, depression, insomnia and less social support at baseline.


Women with ovarian cancer report needing ongoing assistance to deal with psychological and physical needs over the first 2 years after first-line treatment. Targeting individuals at risk of future unmet needs should be prioritized. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.