Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 4229–4235 | Cite as

Comparison of perceptions of unmet supportive care needs between cancer patients and their oncologists

  • Satish Chandrasekhar NairEmail author
  • Waleed A. Hassen
  • Jayadevan Sreedharan
  • Khaled Qawasmeh
  • Halah Ibrahim
Original Article



The prevalence of cancer in the Middle East is increasing and predicted to nearly double by 2030. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), cancer ranks as the third leading cause of death. Yet, there are limited data describing the needs of cancer patients in the region. The purpose of this study is to compare cancer patients’ reports of unmet supportive care needs with the perceptions of their oncologists.


A cross-sectional survey of cancer patients and their oncologists, using an Arabic translation of the short form of the Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-SF34), was conducted at a major oncology center in the UAE between December 2014 and March 2017. Descriptive statistics and McNemar test were calculated to determine differences in unmet need responses between oncologists and patients.


Nine physicians (100%) and 210 of 268 (78.3%) patients completed the questionnaire. Oncologists accurately assessed the level of unmet physical needs of their patients, but significantly underestimated unmet psychological supportive care needs of the patients. Male patients expressed significantly lower (p < 0.05) physical and psychological unmet needs, compared to female patients.


Our findings reveal a general concordance between physician and patient perspectives of unmet supportive care needs. This is reassuring as physician perceptions impact the care patients receive. We present multifaceted supportive care strategies for oncology patients in the region.


Cancer supportive care needs Middle East Physician perceptions Oncology 



The authors wish to thank Ms. Kartyayani P Satish (Al Daar Al Ain International School, Al Ain) for literature collection support for the study.


The study was not supported by any funding sources.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the regional research ethics committee (AAMDHREC 12/55).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Previous presentations

No previous presentations.

Other disclosures



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satish Chandrasekhar Nair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Waleed A. Hassen
    • 2
  • Jayadevan Sreedharan
    • 3
  • Khaled Qawasmeh
    • 4
  • Halah Ibrahim
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Academic AffairsJohns Hopkins Medicine Affiliate-Tawam Hospital and UAE University College of MedicineAl AinUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of MedicineClevelandUSA
  3. 3.College of MedicineGulf Medical UniversityAjmanUnited Arab Emirates
  4. 4.Department of Nursing, OncologyTawam HospitalAl AinUnited Arab Emirates
  5. 5.Johns Hopkins Graduate School of EducationBaltimoreUSA

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