Objectives: This study describes and compares the unmet supportive care needs between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people with cancer.
Methods: Data from two cross-sectional supportive care needs studies were matched in a 1:1 ratio for Indigenous (n = 125) and Non-Indigenous (n = 125) Australian adults diagnosed with cancer. Descriptive statistics were used to compare type and prevalence of 24 need items measured by the SCNS-SF34 and SCNAT-IP.
Results: A higher proportion of Non-Indigenous participants compared to Indigenous participants reported having any moderate-to-high level of unmet needs (70% vs. 54%, p = 0.013) and the difference was consistently observed across non-matched characteristics. While concerns for caregivers, fear of recurrence and pain were central needs for both Indigenous participants and Non-Indigenous participants, there were some key differences in the specific unmet needs between groups. Physical issues including doing usual daily activities and dealing with fatigue were the top priorities for Non-Indigenous people, while money worries, dealing with psychological issues such as how to keep their spirit strong or hope about their future appeared to be priorities for Indigenous people.
Conclusions: Variations in the unmet supportive care needs between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people with cancer may guide health professionals to target specific needs when preparing care plans.