Purpose: 1) To examine the differences in physical symptoms, psychological distress and unmet needs between short-term (2–5 years) and long-term (>5 years) breast cancer survivors (BCSs). 2) To explore how physical symptoms and psychological distress impact unmet needs among women in different survival stages. Method: Three hundred forty-nine people with breast cancer completed questionnaires. Short-term (2–5 years) and long-term (>5 years) survival stages were examined. Physical symptoms (number of physical symptoms); psychological distress, including fear of recurrence (FOR) (FOR visual analogue scale (VAS)) and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale); and unmet needs (Chinese Cancer Survivors’ Unmet Needs scale) were measured. Structural equation modelling with multi-group analysis was used to assess differences between short- and long-term survivors in the magnitude of paths. Results: In total, 157 women who had survived <5 years and 192 women who had survived >5 years were recruited. The path coefficients from physical and depressive symptoms to unmet needs were similar between short-term BCSs and long-term BCSs (p >.05). However, the path coefficient from FOR to unmet needs among women who had survived for >5 years was significantly greater than that among those who had survived <5 years (p <.001). Conclusion: Based on these results, health care professionals should be aware of the FOR that women experience even 5 years after their initial diagnosis. Providing survivorship care plans with comprehensive side effect-related information soon after treatment is recommended.
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