J Breast Cancer.  2021 Feb;24(1):85-96. 10.4048/jbc.2021.24.e3.

Physicians' Awareness of the Breast Cancer Survivors' Unmet Needs in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Catholic Kwandong University International St. Mary's Hospital, Catholic Kwandong University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Surgery, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Surgery, Myongji Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 5Breast Cancer Center, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 6Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 7Department of Surgery, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea
  • 8Department of Preventive Medicine, Jeonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea
  • 9Department of Surgery, Research Institute of Clinical Medicine, Jeonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonbuk National University and Biomedical Research Institute, Jeonju, Korea

Abstract

Purpose
Physicians' awareness of their cancer patients' unmet needs is an essential element for providing effective treatment. This study investigated the accuracy of physicians' awareness of breast cancer survivors' unmet needs in Korea.
Methods
A cross-sectional interview survey was performed among 106 physicians and 320 Korean breast cancer survivors. The Comprehensive Needs Assessment Tool was administered to physicians and cancer survivors after obtaining their written informed consent to participate. Data were analyzed using t-test, analysis of variance, and multiple regression analysis.
Results
The level of unmet needs was highest in the hospital service domain (mean ± standard deviation: 2.19 ± 0.82), and the top-ranked unmet need item was “wished my doctor to be easy, specific, and honest in his/her explanation” (2.44 ± 0.93). Higher unmet needs were correlated with the presence of a genetic counseling clinic. They were not associated with age, sex, marital status, religion, department, working period, type of institution, number of staff, and number of operations. In multiple regression analysis, the presence of a genetic counseling clinic was associated with a higher level of recognition for psychological problems, social support, hospital service, and information and education needs. Physicians overestimated breast cancer survivors' unmet needs in all domains, compared to their selfreported unmet needs. The discordance in the perceived unmet needs was highest in the ‘family/personal relationship problems’ domain.
Conclusions
Physicians who treat Korean breast cancer survivors rated the level of unmet needs of breast cancer survivors as highest in the hospital service domain. The presence of a genetic counseling clinic in physicians' institutions was associated with a higher perception of survivors' unmet needs. Physicians overestimated the level of unmet needs in Korean breast cancer survivors. Efforts to reduce these discordances are needed to implement optimal survivorship care.

Keyword

Breast neoplasms; Physicians; Survivors; Unmet need
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