5.4.1 Supportive care

See validated screening tools mentioned in Principle 4 ‘Supportive care’. Additionally, the ‘Cancer Survivors Unmet Needs (CaSun)’ is another validated screening tool that may help health professionals to identify the unmet needs of patients during survivorship.

A number of specific challenges and needs may arise for cancer survivors:

  • emotional distress arising from fear of disease recurrence, changes in body image, returning to work, anxiety/depression, interpersonal problems and sexuality concerns
  • disabling symptoms – patients may benefit from a referral to psychological services
  • treating underlying chronic liver disease (e.g. anti-viral therapy and variceal screening)
  • managing physical symptoms including pain, weight loss and fatigue
  • treating alcohol dependence
  • managing drug dependence
  • nutrition screening and support
  • financial and employment issues (e.g. loss of income and assistance with returning to work and the cost of treatment, travel and accommodation)
  • appointing a substitute decision-maker and completing an advance care directive
  • legal issues such as completing a will.

For more information on supportive care and needs that may arise for different population groups, see Appendices A and B, and special population groups.