Purpose: Gastric cancer patients are expected to have considerable supportive care needs; however, few studies have been conducted. This study aimed to understand the unmet needs of gastric cancer patients at different phases of the cancer journey, identify factors contributing to their unmet needs and quality of life (QOL) and explore the relationships among unmet needs, symptom experience, anxiety, depression, and QOL. Methods: A correlational study was conducted using data from 223 gastric cancer patients. The instruments include the SCNS-SF 34, HADS, MDASI, and EORTC QLQ-C 30 (Korean version). Descriptive statistics, t test/ANOVA, Pearson’s correlation, multiple regression, and path analyses were used to analyze the data. Results: Unmet needs in the health system and information domain were the highest. The phase of the cancer journey had a significant association only with physical and daily living unmet needs (p = 0.027). Physical and daily living unmet needs, symptom severity, symptom interference, and depression demonstrated direct effects on QOL. The physical and daily living unmet needs mediated the association between symptom experience (symptom severity and interference with daily living caused by symptoms) and QOL. The overall paths explained 51.6% of the variance in the QOL of gastric cancer patients (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The health system and information unmet needs of gastric cancer patients should be fulfilled by reinforcing the continuity of care, professional counseling, and self-care education. Unmet needs in the physical and daily living domain have to be appraised to facilitate improved symptom management to minimize the negative influence on QOL. Factors contributing to the unmet needs and QOL of gastric cancer patients need to be reflected in supportive care planning.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The current study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (2015R1A1A1A05001342), the Chungnam National University Research Grant (2018-0543-01) and the Chungnam National University Hospital Research Grant (2018).
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