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Perceived unmet supportive care needs and determinants of quality of life among head and neck cancer survivors: a research protocol




To describe a study protocol designed to explore the associations among the perceived unmet supportive care needs, quality of life and the demographic and clinical characteristics of head and neck cancer survivors.


The prognoses for people with head and neck cancer are improving with medical advances. However, studies have reported that such cancer survivors experience poor quality of life. Current studies mainly focus on Western populations and there is limited research investigating the needs of head and neck cancer survivors.


A mixed-design method is proposed, which will include two phases. Phase I will use a quantitative cross-sectional design and Phase II a qualitative descriptive approach.


The participants will be recruited from the outpatient departments of three public hospitals in Hong Kong. In Phase I, a questionnaire will be used to collect demographic and clinical characteristics, supportive care needs, necessary access to various supportive services and quality of life. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted in Phase II. The study is supported by a grant from the Health and Health Services Research Fund, Hong Kong, September 2011.


The study will generate in-depth information on the needs of head and neck cancer survivors, to help healthcare professionals allocate resources better and develop new services, which can be more person-centred, to meet the needs of the these survivors.