Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 63–69 | Cite as

Follow-up Care Education and Information: Identifying Cancer Survivors in Need of More Guidance

  • Denalee M. O’MalleyEmail author
  • Shawna V. Hudson
  • Pamela A. Ohman-Strickland
  • Alicja Bator
  • Heather S. Lee
  • Daniel A. Gundersen
  • Suzanne M. Miller


Cancer survivors engage in cancer screenings and protective health behaviors at suboptimal rates despite their increased risk for future illness. Survivorship care plans and other educational strategies to prepare cancer survivors to adopt engaged roles in managing long-term follow-up care and health risks are needed. In a sample of cancer survivors, we identified patient characteristics and psychosocial predictors associated with increased follow-up care informational needs. Cross-sectional surveys were administered to early-stage breast and prostate survivors (N = 278; 68 % breast) at least 2 years post treatment from four community hospital programs in New Jersey between May 2012 and July 2013. Patient demographics, medical history, psychosocial characteristics (i.e., worries about the future, fear of disease recurrence, and patient activation), and perceptions of oncology and primary care were assessed. African-American survivors (AOR = 2.69, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.27–5.68) and survivors with higher comorbidity (AOR = 1.16, CI 1.01-1.33) were more likely to want additional information to guide follow-up care. Adjusting for race and comorbidities, survivors who wanted more information to guide their follow-up care reported greater worries about the future (p < 0.05) and fears about disease recurrence (p < 0.05) compared to those who did not want additional information. Results emphasize the need to develop cancer survivorship educational strategies that are both responsive to the needs of specific populations (e.g., African-American survivors and patients with multiple comorbidities) and the psychosocial profiles that motivate requests for more extensive follow-up guidance.


Follow-up Survivorship Breast cancer Prostate cancer Informational needs 



This research was supported through grants awarded to Dr. Hudson (K01 CA131500, R03 CA154063) and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (P30 CA06927) from the National Cancer Institute. Ms. O’Malley was supported by a Doctoral Training Grant in Oncology Social Work (DSW 13-279-01) from the American Cancer Society.

Conflict of Interest

None of the authors have any potential conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denalee M. O’Malley
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Shawna V. Hudson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pamela A. Ohman-Strickland
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alicja Bator
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heather S. Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel A. Gundersen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Suzanne M. Miller
    • 5
  1. 1.Rutgers Biomedical and Health SciencesRutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers Biomedical and Health SciencesNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthRutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolSomersetUSA
  3. 3.Rutgers Cancer Institute of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  4. 4.Biometrics DivisionRutgers School of Public HealthPiscatawayUSA
  5. 5.Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple HealthPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Rutgers, School of Social WorkNew BrunswickUSA

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