Survivorship Needs for Individuals Living with Advanced and Metastatic Cancers

Thanks to advances in treatment and supportive care, a growing number of people are living longer with metastatic and advanced cancers that are unlikely to be cured. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimated that as of 2018, there were 623,405 people in the United States living with the most prevalent metastatic cancers — breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, or bladder cancer or metastatic melanoma — and that number is expected to increase to 693,452 by the year 2025. 

The population of metastatic and advanced cancer survivors, which varies in terms of disease characteristics, treatments received, and symptoms, likely also has different needs from the population of cancer survivors diagnosed with and treated for early-stage disease. For example, individuals living with metastatic or advanced cancer may go on and off therapy, be treated with new and novel therapies, and/or not know their likelihood of recovery or recurrence. This may have mental, emotional, and social – also known as psychosocial – effects. Many of the needs of this population of cancer survivors have not been well documented nor effectively managed.

NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) is supporting a number of activities focused on the survivorship needs of people living with likely incurable cancer. This work is expected to identify scientific gaps, improve the understanding of experiences and unmet needs for survivors and caregivers, and promote the development and testing of interventions to improve outcomes. 

Funding Opportunity

In May 2022, DCCPS announced a funding opportunity focused on survivors living with likely incurable cancer. The goal of RFA-CA-22-027  is to support grant applications that aim to 1) better understand the physical and psychological symptoms, patterns of care, and unmet needs of this group of survivors, and 2) develop and test ways to improve the delivery of comprehensive survivorship care for them.

Related Workshop and Reports

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In May 2021, DCCPS sponsored Virtual Meeting on Survivorship Needs for Individuals Living with Advanced and Metastatic Cancers to discuss gaps in knowledge and areas of unmet needs for these survivors. The meeting brought together experts in research and clinical care, as well as cancer survivors and advocates, to explore areas of high priority for metastatic and advanced cancer survivorship research.

The goals of this meeting:

  1. Define the current state of metastatic and advanced cancer survivorship research
  2. Identify unmet needs among this population
  3. Discuss research gaps and opportunities in the areas of epidemiology, healthcare delivery, behavioral sciences, and symptom management

Links to materials from the meeting:

Data Resources

The May 2021 NCI meeting identified a number of research opportunities in the areas of epidemiology and surveillance, symptom management, psychosocial needs, healthcare delivery, and health behaviors to fill gaps in knowledge pertaining to cancer survivors living with advanced or metastatic cancer. Below is a list of available resources to facilitate research in these areas, organized by type. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions or would like to suggest additional resources, please contact Dr. Lisa Gallicchio at

Additional Materials

Phases of Cancer Survivorship

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For information about the NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS) or news in the field, go to the OCS homepage, or find us on X at @NCICancerSurv.

Last Updated
February 08, 2024