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Prostate cancer: unmet supportive and palliative care needs: national survey of patients and family carers

Johnson, Miriam; Huang, Chao; Chen, Hong; Jones, Lesley; Twiddy, Maureen


Hong Chen

Lesley Jones


Objectives: Men living with prostate cancer have supportive and palliative needs. However, few studies detail unmet needs (vs quality of life measurement) or include data from those with advanced disease. We aimed to identify unmet needs of people living with prostate cancer (men, family carers), including those with advanced disease.
Methods: Mixed-methods national survey (patient Supportive Care Needs Survey; Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool) and health status (EQ-VAS). Quantitative data were explored using regression analysis. Free text data were subjected to thematic analysis.
Results: 216 men (mean age 65 +/-8.5 years; active cancer 136 [63%]) and 97 carers (68 [70%] spouse/partner) provided data. 133 men (62%) reported moderate-high need which was more likely in advanced disease. Men’s health status was worse with active vs remitted disease (mean difference -11; 95% CI -17 to -5; p<0.001). 85 (88%) carers reported at least one unmet need relating to “enabling them to care” and 83 (86%) relating to “their own wellbeing”. Carers with chronic illnesses had more unmet needs (p= 0.01 to p=0.04) and patient receipt of palliative care independently predicted higher unmet carer needs(p=0.02).

Free text data demonstrated widespread burden with: i) poor communication/information, including about palliative care; ii) poorly managed symptoms/concerns; iii) poor care co-ordination. Incontinence, sexual dysfunction and hormone side-effects were serious problems, often left unaddressed.
Conclusions: Many living with prostate cancer continue with wide-ranging concerns. Lack of systematic, ongoing needs assessment and poor communication compound inadequate clinical pathways. Person-centred care, inter-disciplinary working, and integrated palliative care should be resourced.


Johnson, M., Huang, C., Chen, H., Jones, L., & Twiddy, M. (in press). Prostate cancer: unmet supportive and palliative care needs: national survey of patients and family carers. BMJ supportive & palliative care,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 10, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 30, 2021
Deposit Date Jan 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 12, 2022
Journal BMJ supportive & palliative care
Print ISSN 2045-435X
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (<nobr>447 Kb</nobr>)

Copyright Statement
© Authors (or their employer(s)). This article has been accepted for publication in BMJ supportive & palliative care, 2021 following peer review, and the Version of Record can be accessed online at

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