Most carers of people with newly diagnosed cancer reported at least one unmet need and nearly a third were at risk of clinical depression, a recent study published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Cancer has shown.

For the study, researchers sought to examine levels of unmet needs and depression among carers of people newly diagnosed with cancer and to identify those who could be at an increased risk for unmet needs and clinical depression.

Researchers enrolled 150 patients with newly diagnosed cancer receiving adjuvant cancer treatment with curative intent at four Australian hospitals.

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Results showed that 57% of carers reported at least one unmet need, 37% reported at least three, 31% at least five, and 15% said they had at least 10 unmet needs. The most frequently reported unmet needs were related to health care service and information needs.

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Researchers found that 30% of carers and 36% of patients were at risk for developing clinical depression.

The study also demonstrated a significant association between carer age, hospital type, cancer type, treatment type, living situation, relationship status, and carer levels of unmet needs.

The findings suggest that strategies need to be developed to assist carers who supporting patients with newly diagnosed cancer.


  1. Heckel L, Fennell KM, Reynolds J, et al. Unmet needs and depression among carers of people newly diagnosed with cancer. E J Cancer. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2015.06.129.