Background: Assessment of supportive care needs for cancer patients and identifying factors affecting these needs is important for the implementation of supportive care programmes, as the burden of cancer is increasing in Ethiopia.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and associated factors of unmet supportive care needs of cancer patients at Dessie Referral Hospital, Dessie, South Wollo, North East Ethiopia, 2020.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design was implemented among 405 cancer patients from February to 30 July 2020, at Dessie Referral Hospital. The data were collected using a validated supportive care needs survey questionnaire through face to face interview and data extraction tools. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used and bi-variable and multivariable logistic regressions were used to describe the association between dependent and independent variables. Thus, a p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Result: From the total 405 participants, 275 (67.5%) were females with a mean age of (mean ± standard deviation) 48.6 ± 15.4 years. Unmet supportive care needs were higher among psychological needs (81.0%, 95% (confidence interval) CI = 77.0–84.9) and physical needs (74.6%, 95% CI = 70.1–79.0). Old age was associated with unmet physical and psychological needs domain than young age (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.06), (AOR = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.03–1.09), respectively. High household income was significantly associated with health information needs (AOR = 2.22; 95% CI: 1.33–13.93), remission status (AOR = 0.37; 95% CI: 0.22–0.62) was associated with patient/supportive care needs, late stage cancer was also significantly associated with physical, psychological and health information needs of patients (AOR = 2.19; 95% CI: 1.18–4.06), (AOR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.18–4.57) and (AOR = 2:95%; CI: 1.03–3.86), respectively. Besides, source of information had a statistically significant association with psychological, health information and patient care needs domain (AOR = 2.61; 95% CI: 1.15–5.93), (AOR = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.65–5.82) and (AOR = 2.2; 95% CI: 1.25–3.87), respectively.
Conclusion and recommendation: This study shows that the prevalence of unmet supportive care needs in cancer patients is high in each domain. Age, income, cancer stage, cancer site, treatment option, time since diagnosis and sources of information were associated across one or more unmet supportive care needs domains. Therefore, the government and health professionals should work together to improve the unmet needs of cancer patients.