A pilot study examining the unmet needs of cancer survivors living with polypathology

M. Siu, P. Catton, J. Jones, A.R. Jadad


With improved average longevity, the issue of polypathology in the cancer population is of growing importance, because it will increasingly affect more people. The present study piloted two self-report surveys aiming to provide preliminary data on the nature of polypathology and supportive care needs (met and unmet) of cancer survivors. Survivors were recruited from outpatient clinics at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and were asked to complete and give feedback on the surveys. Of a convenience sample of 88 survivors, almost three quarters (73%) reported having polypathology, and 64% had at least 1 unmet need. Results also suggest that those with the highest number of needs were more likely to have polypathology. Our study invites further assessments with self-report surveys of the complex picture that arises when cancer is not the only disease affecting a person. It also highlights the need for innovative supportive services to address patient needs.


Polypathology; supportive-care needs; self-administered questionnaires; cancer survivor

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.20.1307

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)