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Unmet Health Needs for Patients With Uveal Melanoma

Most express unmet needs at 1 week, 3 months after diagnosis; drop in unmet needs over time

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Most patients with uveal melanoma have unmet health information and psychological needs, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Timothy J. Williamson, M.P.H., from the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal survey study at a university-based ophthalmology practice from June 1, 2007, to July 1, 2011, involving 107 patients diagnosed with uveal melanoma by an ophthalmologist. The Cancer Needs Questionnaire was used to assess unmet needs (desire for help in psychological, physical, health information, communication, or social domains).

The researchers found that 99 percent of patients expressed at least one unmet need at one week after diagnosis and 86 percent did so three months later. Needs in the health information and psychological domains were most frequently endorsed. Over three months there was a significant decline in patients’ unmet needs. There was no correlation for sociodemographic and medical characteristics with unmet need severity. Lower unmet need severity at one week after diagnosis was predicted by higher prediagnosis instrumental social support and lower neuroticism. Lower unmet need severity three months after diagnosis and a decline in needs from diagnosis to three months later were predicted by having a smaller social network.

“These findings suggest that prior to or at diagnosis, the severity of such needs and psychosocial factors that may be associated can be identified for proactive supportive intervention,” the authors write.

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