Unmet needs of Italian cancer patients in different stages of the disease and care process



Assessing patients’ unmet supportive care needs is essential in order to prioritize areas of cancer care that require improvement. The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to compare the unmet needs of cancer patients in different stages of the disease and care process (diagnosis, treatments following diagnosis, follow-up and/or rehabilitation, relapse/recurrence, progression of the disease, and palliative care).


The research focused on patients from 7 oncology units of the same geographic region (Tuscany, a region of central Italy) in the same period of time regardless of primary tumor site. A total of 752 patients filled in the Needs Evaluation Questionnaire and the Psychological Distress Inventory.


We observed high rates of cancer patients who expressed unmet needs, especially in the areas of information and relational and material needs. The multiple regression models showed a direct correlation between psychological distress and extent of unmet needs. Individual unmet needs had significantly different entities at diverse phases.


The present study confirmed the dynamic nature of needs of cancer patients, highlighting some critical aspects in different stages of the care process on which to concentrate attention and resources and suggesting the usefulness of periodic and repeated assessments of principal needs.

Post author correction




Andrea Bonacchi, Stefania Di Miceli, Donatella Lippi, Maria Grazia Muraca, Guido Miccinesi

Article History


Financial support: No financial support was received for this submission.
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has conflict of interest with this submission.

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  •  Clinical and Descriptive Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Research and Prevention-ISPO, Florence - Italy
  •  Centro Studi e Ricerca Synthesis, Florence - Italy
  •  Rete di Cure Palliative, Zona Nord Ovest, USL Centro Firenze, Florence - Italy
  •  Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Florence - Italy
  •  Centro Riabilitazione Oncologica, Institute for Cancer Research and Prevention-ISPO, Florence - Italy

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