Beyond treatment – Psychosocial and behavioural issues in cancer survivorship research and practice

N.K. Aaronson, V. Mattioli, O. Minton, J. Weis, C. Johansen, S.O. Dalton, I.M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, K.D. Stein, C.M. Alfano, A. Mehnert, A. de Boer, L. van de Poll-Franse

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The population of cancer survivors has grown steadily over the past several decades. Surviving cancer, however, is not synonymous with a life free of problems related to the disease and its treatment. In this paper we provide a brief overview of selected physical and psychosocial health problems prevalent among cancer survivors, namely pain, fatigue, psychological distress and work participation. We also address issues surrounding self-management and e-Health interventions for cancer survivors, and programmes to encourage survivors to adopt healthier lifestyles. Finally, we discuss approaches to assessing health-related quality of life in cancer survivors, and the use of cancer registries in conducting psychosocial survivorship research. We highlight research and practice priorities in each of these areas. While the priorities vary per topic, common themes that emerged included: (1) Symptoms should not be viewed in isolation, but rather as part of a cluster of interrelated symptoms. This has implications for both understanding the aetiology of symptoms and for their treatment; (2) Psychosocial interventions need to be evidence-based, and where possible should be tailored to the needs of the individual cancer survivor. Relatively low cost interventions with self-management and e-Health elements may be appropriate for the majority of survivors, with resource intensive interventions being reserved for those most in need; (3) More effort should be devoted to disseminating and implementing interventions in practice, and to evaluating their cost-effectiveness; and (4) Greater attention should be paid to the needs of vulnerable and high-risk populations of survivors, including the socioeconomically disadvantaged and the elderly. © 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-64
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer. Supplement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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