Cancer Survivorship in 10 Asia Pacific Countries: What can we learn from a study of 1873 cancer survivors and 1501 oncology practitioners?

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Chan, Raymond
Yates, Patsy
Molasiotis, Alex
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Washington, DC, USA


Background: Gaining an understanding of perspectives of patients and oncology practitioners can inform the design of interventions and service planning in the Asia-Pacific region. This study aimed to examine the supportive care needs of cancer survivors; and the perceptions of responsibility, confidence, and frequency of survivorship care practices of oncology practitioners. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted in Australia (as the benchmark) and nine high income (HICs) and low/middle income (LMICs) Asian countries (China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore South Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Philippines). For Part 1, the patient questionnaire included validated scales (Cancer Survivors Unmet Needs scale; Cancer Survivors Survey of Needs- Physical-Symptom Concerns Subscale; and a single-item measure of global quality-of-life perception (QOL)). For Part 2, the oncology practitioner questionnaire comprised three subscales that assessed oncology practitioners’ perception of responsibility, confidence, and frequency of practices relevant to 29 items of survivorship care interventions. The surveys were distributed via cancer centers and professional bodies. Findings: In total, 1,873 cancer survivors and 1,501 oncology practitioners participated in the study. Part 1: Asian countries had significantly lower QOL than Australia (all p<0.001). The most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue (66.6%), loss of strength (61.8%), and pain (61.6%), with no differences in symptom experience between Australian data and all other countries. Australia and HICs were similar in terms of unmet needs (all low), but LMICs had a significantly higher number of needs, both compared to Australia and HICs (all p<0.001). Part 2: When comparing the subscales of responsibility perception, frequency and confidence, Australia had significantly higher ratings than Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore (all p<0.05). Surprisingly, practitioners working in LMICs had higher levels of responsibility perception, confidence and frequencies of care than those in HICs (p<0.001). Discussion: Patients in HICs have lower levels of unmet needs compared to those in LMICs. Different oncology practitioners’ practice patterns have been observed between HICs and LMICs; and Australia and other countries. Higher ratings from practitioners in LMICs may be explained by the professional specialization and higher care expectations in HICs. We call for actions to optimize the delivery of survivorship care in this region.

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Oncology Nursing Forum

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Chan, R; Yates, P; Molasiotis, A, Cancer Survivorship in 10 Asia Pacific Countries: What can we learn from a study of 1873 cancer survivors and 1501 oncology practitioners?, Oncology Nursing Forum, 2018, 45 (2)