Anxiety about recurrence along with physical and financial problems are some of the issues that many cancer survivors face even decades after being cured of the disease, shows a study.
The findings could lead to interventions that are tailored to the specific types of problems and concerns that cancer survivors may experience.
“Overall, we found that cancer survivors are often caught off guard by the lingering problems they experience after cancer treatment,” said Mary Ann Burg from the University of Central Florida in the US.
While many survivors do well after treatment, some experience continuing problems that can significantly impair their quality of life well beyond the magical five-year survival milestone.
To assess the unmet needs of cancer survivors, the researchers looked at the responses from 1,514 cancer survivors who detailed the problems they faced.
Survivors most frequently expressed physical problems, with 38 percent saying they were an issue.
Problems related to sexuality and lack of control among prostate cancer survivors were especially common.
Financial problems related to the costs of treatment also persisted long after treatment for 20 percent of respondents.
Anxiety about recurrence was a common theme expressed by survivors regardless of the type of cancer they had or how many years they had survived cancer.
The number and type of unmet needs were not associated with time since cancer treatment.
The study appeared online in the journal Cancer.