The Unmet Needs of Cancer Survivors in Ausl IRCCS Reggio Emilia (Survivorship)


University of Modena and Reggio Emilia




Breast Cancer
Multiple Myeloma
Thyroid Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Colorectal Cancer


Other: Focus Groups or Interviews

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


This qualitative study seeks to explore the unmet needs of individuals who have recently undergone a cancer diagnosis and completed the acute phase of treatment. The primary objective is to utilize the experiences of patients, caregivers, and stakeholders to enhance the aftercare provided to cancer survivors. By delving into patient perceptions regarding unmet needs in cancer aftercare, the study aims to identify areas for redesigning and improving services to minimize these needs and ultimately enhance patient outcomes. Importantly, the investigation incorporates insights from patients, their caregivers, and stakeholders. The research will employ qualitative methods, specifically focus groups and interviews, to gather comprehensive perspectives from individuals in the Ausl IRCCS Reggio Emilia district who have completed treatment for breast, prostate, colorectal, thyroid, and multiple myeloma cancers. Including patients with diverse cancer types is crucial for capturing a broad spectrum of experiences. During data collection, both focus group discussions and interviews will be recorded in audio format and transcribed verbatim. This meticulous approach ensures an accurate representation of participants' voices and experiences. The subsequent analysis will employ a combination of framework and thematic analysis to extract meaningful insights and synthesize the data effectively. The study's ultimate goal is to leverage the findings to optimize aftercare services for cancer survivors within the local context of Ausl IRCCS Reggio Emilia. By incorporating the perspectives of patients, caregivers, and stakeholders, the research aims to contribute valuable insights that can inform the redesign and improvement of aftercare services, ultimately benefitting cancer survivors in the region.

Full description

The escalating global population of cancer survivors (CSs) underscores the imperative to offer services tailored to address their specific unmet needs. Individuals are designated as 'cancer survivors' from the moment of diagnosis onward throughout their lifetime. Despite this, there is a worldwide acknowledgment that CSs encounter a spectrum of physical, psychosocial, spiritual, informational, and practical challenges, often leading to unmet needs that frequently go unrecognized and unaddressed. Unmet needs, in this context, refer to those requirements perceived by individuals as lacking the necessary level of service for achieving optimal well-being. These can be characterized as unsatisfied needs for which CSs desire additional assistance or support. A profound comprehension and measurement of CSs' unmet needs play a pivotal role in identifying gaps in their care experiences, providing an opportunity to deliver patient-centered services. Effective care delivery not only enhances patient outcomes and quality of life but also contributes to increased satisfaction with care. This, in turn, may lead to a reduced demand for health and social care services. The qualitative study outlined here seeks to delve into the unmet needs of individuals who have undergone a cancer diagnosis within the past years and have completed the acute phase of treatment. The study aims to leverage the experiences of patients, caregivers, and stakeholders to optimize cancer survivorship care. Specifically, the investigation will focus on the unmet needs of cancer survivors post the acute treatment phase for some of the most prevalent forms of cancer with a life expectancy of at least five years. Namely: To investigate the unmet needs perceived by cancer survivors in AUSL IRCCS Reggio Emilia setting. To determine the area of impact on health encompassed by those unmet needs to create a direct link to the ICF. To determine which Patient Reported Outcome Measure aimed at identifying cancer survivors' unmet needs will best investigate those ICF components connected to common cancer survivors' unmet needs to implement it in their routine assessment. To identify the services that need to be implemented to provide support to the true needs of local cancer survivors. To develop a Survivorship care plan model coherent with patients' expectations and health care system economic resources. Utilizing focus groups and interviews, the research will recruit participants from the AUSL - IRCCS Reggio Emilia district who have completed treatment for breast, prostate, colorectal, thyroid, and multiple myeloma cancers. The study will adhere to a structured schedule for conducting focus groups and interviews, accommodating participants in individual interviews if logistical or personal challenges arise. Each focus group, homogeneous in terms of pathology, will include 4 to 8 participants, with a total ranging between 30 and 60 participants based on Krueger's recommendations. Audio recording and verbatim transcription of focus groups and interviews will facilitate subsequent framework and thematic analysis to extract meaningful insights. The study's objectives encompass investigating perceived unmet needs, determining the health impact linked to these needs within the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), identifying suitable Patient Reported Outcome Measures, pinpointing services for implementation, and developing a Survivorship care plan model aligning with patient expectations and healthcare system resources. The focus groups and interviews, including patients with or without linked caregivers, will be systematically transcribed and analyzed using framework and thematic analysis methodologies.


45 estimated patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Adult aged18 years or over.
  • Individuals who have a history of breast, prostate, thyroid, colorectal, multiple myeloma or lymphoma cancer within the past years who have completed the acute phase of treatment, and are in follow-up or are receiving maintenance treatment;
  • Caregivers for an individual who meets the above criteria, who are aged 18 years or over.
  • Stakeholders for individual who meets the above criteria, who are aged 18 years or over.

Exclusion criteria

  • Individuals who do not wish to participate
  • Individuals who do not understand and/or speak Italian
  • Individuals with significant cognitive impairment, learning difficulty, or communication difficulty such that understanding the nature of the study, the interview questions, or participating in a focus group or an on-line or in-presence interview would not be practical.

Trial design

45 participants in 3 patient groups

Cancer Survivors
Cancer Survivors
Other: Focus Groups or Interviews
Cancer Survivors Caregiver
Family members or/and caregivers
Other: Focus Groups or Interviews
Cancer Survivors Stakeholders
Health professionals, patients associations
Other: Focus Groups or Interviews

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Stefania Costi, PhD; Angela Contri, MA

Data sourced from

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