Newly diagnosed patients with lung and colorectal cancer indicate unmet needs for symptom management, a study reported at the 2014 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts (Abstract #153).
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, enrolled 5,422 patients with newly diagnosed lung and colorectal cancer from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance cohort.
Patients completed a survey approximately 4 to 6 months following diagnosis and the researchers determined the prevalence of unmet needs for symptom management during the 4 weeks before participating in the survey. Patients experienced an unmet need if they indicated they wanted help for at least one symptom, but did not receive it.
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The results showed that 15% of patients overall had at least one unmet need for symptom management. Various factors, including African American race, lack of insurance or being poor, having lung cancer as opposed to colorectal cancer, having early-stage versus late-stage cancer, and the presence of moderate to severe symptoms were more likely to be associated with more substantial unmet need.
“One of the most interesting things to me is the prevalence of unmet needs throughout the trajectory of cancer,” Anne M. Walling, MD, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said while presenting the results of the study. One limitation of the study is that the researchers do not have data on what the unmet needs were.