Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1131–1141 | Cite as

Unmet psychosocial needs in haematological cancer: a systematic review

  • B. Swash
  • N. Hulbert-Williams
  • R. Bramwell
Review Article



Psychosocial need implies a desire or requirement for support that underlies a person’s psychological, social and emotional wellbeing. This is not a new concept in the wider cancer literature, yet remains a relatively unexplored area in relation to haematological malignancies. The well-recognised differences between haematological and other types of cancer diagnosis warrant further investigation to try and highlight the potential differences in the needs of this patient group.


A systematic review of key online databases and psycho-oncology journals was conducted to identify papers that formally assessed unmet psychosocial needs in adults with a diagnosis of haematological cancer. The breadth of methodologies of included studies made a meta-analytical approach unfeasible, therefore studies were analysed using a narrative synthesis approach.


Eighteen studies were found to be relevant and a specific focus was placed on those papers that looked solely at participants with a haematological diagnosis. The key areas of need identified were: psychological need, notably fear of recurrence; information needs; and needs relating to both family and healthcare professionals. Fear of recurrence was the most commonly identified psychosocial need within this literature.


The clinical implications of these findings highlight the need for more widespread access to psychological support for haematology patients and for more to be done to tackle patients’ fears and concerns throughout the course of their illness. Assessment and identification of unmet needs is an important step enabling the development of clinical services that support and maintain psychological wellbeing through treatment and into survivorship.


Review Needs Psychosocial Cancer Haematology Wellbeing 


Conflict of interests

There are no conflicts of interest to declare. The authors have full control of all primary data and consent for the journal to request this data if required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ChesterChesterUK

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