Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease

A special issue of Journal of Personalized Medicine (ISSN 2075-4426). This special issue belongs to the section "Epidemiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 November 2023) | Viewed by 25070

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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specific populations is known as epidemiology. It is the study of how frequently and why diseases occur in different groups of people. Epidemiological data are used to plan and evaluate disease-prevention strategies, as well as to guide disease management in patients who have already developed disease. In this Special Issue of the Journal of Personalized Medicine, we welcome papers that investigate a health problem that can be applied to a variety of issues, ranging from the transmission of an infectious disease agent to the development of a new strategy for healthcare delivery. Although epidemiologic studies rarely provide "proof" of a causal relationship, the relationships between the agent, the environment, and the host (usually human) could be investigated in these papers. 

The topics of interest, with a view toward personalized medicine, include (but are not limited to) the following: 

  • Illness causation 
  • Transmission of diseases 
  • Investigation of disease outbreak 
  • Disease surveillance 
  • Environmental epidemiology 
  • Forensic epidemiology 
  • Occupational epidemiology 
  • Screening of diseases 
  • Biomonitoring 
  • Comparisons of treatment effects, such as in clinical trials

Prof. Dr. Marijn Speeckaert 
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • cause of illness
  • screening
  • transmission of diseases
  • disease surveillance
  • clinical trials

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 5402 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Impact of Transcutaneous Maxillary Distraction Osteogenesis on Pharyngeal Airway Volume in Children with Cleft Lip and Palate: A 3D Evaluation Study
by Chia-Hsuan Chan, Chi-Yu Tsai, Jui-Pin Lai, Shiu-Shiung Lin and Yu-Jen Chang
J. Pers. Med. 2023, 13(3), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm13030543 - 18 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1612
Abstract
Cleft lip and cleft palate (CLCP) patients often have a retrusive maxilla and a severe skeletal Class III malocclusion, which can result in velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes in the volume of the 3D airway [...] Read more.
Cleft lip and cleft palate (CLCP) patients often have a retrusive maxilla and a severe skeletal Class III malocclusion, which can result in velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes in the volume of the 3D airway in CLCP children after maxilla distraction using the transcutaneous maxillary distraction osteogenesis (TMDO) method. 15 children with bilateral or unilateral CLCP were included in the study. 3D CBCT images were taken before and after distraction and were segmented and reconstructed to create a 3D airway model. The airway was divided into three regions: the upper, oropharyngeal, and hypopharyngeal airway. Pearson correlation tests were used to assess correlations between volume changes and corresponding skeletal and dental landmark movements (Point N, ANS, A, B, Pog, U1, and L1). The results showed that the ANS point advanced 9.85 ± 3.60 mm, and the A point advanced 14.22 ± 4.57 mm. The total airway volume change increased by 2535.06 ± 2791.80 mm3. However, there was no significant correlation between the A/ANS/U1 and the three different airway regions. Only B/Pog/L1 showed a positive correlation with these airway regions, with a high correlation between B/Pog/L1 and the hypopharyngeal airway region. TMDO can result in greater anterior advancement of the maxilla and an increase in airway volume, but the changes in bony landmarks did not show a strong positive correlation with the increase in airway volume as expected. Further investigation is needed to analyze the influence of surrounding soft tissue on the changes in airway volume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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12 pages, 867 KiB  
Article
Prolonged Use of Carnitine-Orotate Complex (Godex®) Is Associated with Improved Mortality: A Nationwide Cohort Study
by Kye-Yeung Park, Sangmo Hong, Kyung-Soo Kim, Kyungdo Han and Cheol-Young Park
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(12), 1970; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12121970 - 28 Nov 2022
Viewed by 7090
Abstract
Despite its hepatoprotective effects and favorable metabolic effects, the association between carnitine-orotate complex (Godex®) intake and mortality has never been investigated. We enrolled 13,413 adults who underwent national health examination and were prescribed the carnitine-orotate complex. Subjects were classified into three [...] Read more.
Despite its hepatoprotective effects and favorable metabolic effects, the association between carnitine-orotate complex (Godex®) intake and mortality has never been investigated. We enrolled 13,413 adults who underwent national health examination and were prescribed the carnitine-orotate complex. Subjects were classified into three groups based on duration of using carnitine-orotate complex: <30, 30–180, and ≥180 days and were followed-up until 2019. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all-cause mortality were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression. During the follow-up period, 708 deaths were documented. Adjusted HR of mortality was 0.69 (95% CI 0.51–0.92) in those who used carnitine-orotate complex for ≥180 days compared to those who used it for <30 days. Use of carnitine-orotate complex for ≥180 days was associated with significantly reduced mortality in individuals with metabolic risk factors such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, and fatty liver than the shorter period of use. A significant interaction was observed in individuals with type 2 diabetes (HR 0.43, 95% CI 0.29–0.63, p-value 0.001). In this nationwide study, longer use of carnitine-orotate complex was associated with improved mortality compared to a shorter period of use, and the risk reductions were prominent in individuals with metabolic risk factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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13 pages, 1189 KiB  
Article
Predicting Intention to Participate in Community Physical Activities for Adults with Physical Disabilities
by Qi Xu, Hongwu Xie, Dingzhao Zheng, Xinhong Wu, Yun Zhang, Taibiao Li and Tiebin Yan
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(11), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12111832 - 3 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Structural equation modeling was used to derive a relationship predicting the intention to participate in community physical activity among community-dwelling adults with a physical disability in Xiamen, China. The data were collected in a cross-sectional survey. The structural equation modeling combined biomedicine and [...] Read more.
Structural equation modeling was used to derive a relationship predicting the intention to participate in community physical activity among community-dwelling adults with a physical disability in Xiamen, China. The data were collected in a cross-sectional survey. The structural equation modeling combined biomedicine and the theory of planned behavior. It integrated ratings using the rehabilitation set from the international classification of functioning, disability, and health and role-physical scores from the short form 36 health survey questionnaire instrument. The model demonstrated a good ability to predict self-reported participation intentions, explaining 62% of the variance. The standard coefficients showed that activity limitation (27%), role-physical score (21%) and body impairment (14%) were the most influential predictors. ICF-RS ratings and role-physical ratings together can usefully predict physically disabled adults’ intention of participating in community physical activities. Suggestions are presented for multidisciplinary intervention and improving this portion of the WHO’s classification system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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13 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
The Outcomes of COVID-19 Patients with Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage Comorbidity and the Efficacy of Enoxaparin in Decreasing the Mortality Rate in Them: Single Egyptian Center Report
by Mohamed Shaban, Marwa O. Elgendy, Alzhraa M. Fahmy, Doaa Mahmoud Khalil, Ahmed O. El-Gendy, Tamer M. Mahmoud and Mohamed E. A. Abdelrahim
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(11), 1822; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12111822 - 2 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
Patients with neurological comorbidities are more likely to develop severe COVID-19. We aimed to detect the outcomes of COVID-19 patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage comorbidity and the role of enoxaparin in decreasing the mortality rate in these cases, even though enoxaparin is a [...] Read more.
Patients with neurological comorbidities are more likely to develop severe COVID-19. We aimed to detect the outcomes of COVID-19 patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage comorbidity and the role of enoxaparin in decreasing the mortality rate in these cases, even though enoxaparin is a potential cause of intracerebral hemorrhage. The patients were checked on to detect surveillance outcomes, the relationship between mortality and patient characteristics, and the relationship between enoxaparin and study outcomes. Chest condition and GCS improved in 67.9% of participants. Hematoma course increased in 49.1%. Midline-shift, brain-edema, and COVID symptoms improved in 67.9%. There was a non-significant difference in mortality regarding age and gender. There was a significant difference in mortality regarding treatment with enoxaparin; 75% of the patients who did not receive enoxaparin died. 92.6% of the patients who showed decreases in hematoma course were administered enoxaparin. 76.9% of the patients who showed increases in hematoma-course were administered enoxaparin. Most of the patients who were admitted to the neurosurgical unit with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage acquired the COVID-19 infection. Most of the cases included in this study did not progress to severe cases. The dying patients showed deterioration in both neurological and COVID-19 symptoms. The anticoagulant properties of enoxaparin given earlier before and throughout the infection can considerably reduce mortality in COVID-19 individuals with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage. It is recommended to use enoxaparin for cases with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage and COVID-19 regardless of hematoma size because the rate of improvement was greater than the mortality rate after using enoxaparin in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
9 pages, 697 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Dental Anomalies in Taiwanese Children with Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
by Chin-Han Chang, Chi-Hua Chang, Jui-Pin Lai, Shiu-Shiung Lin and Yu-Jen Chang
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(10), 1708; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12101708 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1683
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of tooth agenesis, tooth malformation, and eruption patterns of upper canines/first premolars in Taiwanese children. A total of 132 cleft lip and cleft palate (CLCP) patients (82 boys and 50 girls) underwent alveolar [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of tooth agenesis, tooth malformation, and eruption patterns of upper canines/first premolars in Taiwanese children. A total of 132 cleft lip and cleft palate (CLCP) patients (82 boys and 50 girls) underwent alveolar bone grafting (ABG) between 2012 and 2022. The patients’ dental records and X-ray images were inspected. We examined dental anomalies, including congenital missing teeth, microdontia, and transposition from the upper canines to the upper first premolars in these CLCP patients. Additionally, we investigated the mean ABG operation age (9.27 ± 0.76 years) of our patient; 40.9% of them received pre-ABG orthodontic treatment at 8.72 ± 0.70 years. Among the 132 cleft subjects, the prevalence of tooth agenesis is 73.5% (97/132). The most frequently missing teeth are the maxillary lateral incisors (right side: 46.2%; left side: 47.0%). In this study, microdontia are found in all the upper incisors, of which the highest percentage (18.9%) is observed in the upper left lateral incisors. The prevalence of upper canine and first premolar transposition is 10.6%. The pattern of tooth agenesis and microdontia of the upper lateral incisors shows a strong correlation with the cleft sites of these CLCP patients in our study. These results may support the idea that the patterns of dental anomalies in CLCP patients are region-specific. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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11 pages, 994 KiB  
Article
Relationships between Physical Activity Level and Pain in the Spanish Population: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Ángel Denche-Zamorano, Juan Manuel Franco-García, Raquel Pastor-Cisneros, Diana Salas-Gómez, Daniel Collado-Mateo, Pedro Rufino Olivares and José Carmelo Adsuar
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(10), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12101591 - 27 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1574
Abstract
Introduction. One third of the world’s population suffers from some form of pain. Physical inactivity is one of the causes that reduces physical fitness and may lead to an increase in the prevalence of pain in the population. Aims. To analyse the relationships [...] Read more.
Introduction. One third of the world’s population suffers from some form of pain. Physical inactivity is one of the causes that reduces physical fitness and may lead to an increase in the prevalence of pain in the population. Aims. To analyse the relationships between the level of physical activity (PAL) and the prevalence and degree of pain, the limitations and impact of pain on daily activities and the use of pain medication in the Spanish population. Hypothesis. PAL is related to pain among Spaniards. Methodology. A cross-sectional study design was used, based on data obtained from the Spanish National Health Survey 2017 with 17,777 participants. A descriptive analysis was performed. Nonparametric statistical tests were used: chi-square statistic to analyse intergroup differences in ordinal variables; Mann–Whitney U test to analyse intergroup differences in continuous variables. A correlation study was also performed between the variables of interest, using Spearman’s rho. Results. Relationships were found between PAL and: prevalence of pain, degree of pain, limitations due to pain in usual activities, level of impact in daily activities and use of pain medication in the Spanish population (p < 0.001). Performing moderate and intense PA was related to lower prevalence and degree of pain in the population that performed it, compared to those who only walked or were inactive. Weak correlations were found between the level of PA and the study variables (p < 0.001). Conclusions. High PALs in the population are related to better indicators of pain among Spaniards, appearing to reduce the prevalence and degree of pain, as well as the limitations and impact caused by pain in the daily activities of citizens, and could reduce the use of pain medication in the adult Spanish population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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14 pages, 325 KiB  
Article
Grip Strength Trajectories and Cognition in English and Chilean Older Adults: A Cross-Cohort Study
by Bárbara Angel, Olesya Ajnakina, Cecilia Albala, Lydia Lera, Carlos Márquez, Leona Leipold, Avri Bilovich, Richard Dobson and Rebecca Bendayan
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(8), 1230; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12081230 - 27 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2184
Abstract
Growing evidence about the link between cognitive and physical decline suggests the early changes in physical functioning as a potential biomarker for cognitive impairment. Thus, we compared grip-strength trajectories over 12–16 years in three groups classified according to their cognitive status (two stable [...] Read more.
Growing evidence about the link between cognitive and physical decline suggests the early changes in physical functioning as a potential biomarker for cognitive impairment. Thus, we compared grip-strength trajectories over 12–16 years in three groups classified according to their cognitive status (two stable patterns, normal and impaired cognitive performance, and a declining pattern) in two representative UK and Chilean older adult samples. The samples consisted of 7069 UK (ELSA) and 1363 Chilean participants (ALEXANDROS). Linear Mixed models were performed. Adjustments included socio-demographics and health variables. The Declined and Impaired group had significantly lower grip-strength at baseline when compared to the Non-Impaired. In ELSA, the Declined and Impaired showed a faster decline in their grip strength compared to the Non-Impaired group but differences disappeared in the fully adjusted models. In ALEXANDROS, the differences were only found between the Declined and Non-Impaired and they were partially attenuated by covariates. Our study provides robust evidence of the association between grip strength and cognitive performance and how socio-economic factors might be key to understanding this association and their variability across countries. This has implications for future epidemiological research, as hand-grip strength measurements have the potential to be used as an indicator of cognitive performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
9 pages, 1175 KiB  
Article
Changes in the Incidence of Cardiovascular Diseases during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Korea
by Hyo Geun Choi, Dae Myoung Yoo, Yoo Hwan Kim, Mi Jung Kwon, Joo-Hee Kim, Joon Ho Song and Ji Hee Kim
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(7), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12071183 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1477
Abstract
There is scarcity in the evidence addressing the indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the epidemiology of CVDs. In this study we aimed to examine possible changes in the incidence of CVDs in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. ICD-10 codes of six [...] Read more.
There is scarcity in the evidence addressing the indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the epidemiology of CVDs. In this study we aimed to examine possible changes in the incidence of CVDs in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. ICD-10 codes of six common CVDs (cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral infarction, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, cardiac failure, and arrhythmia) were collected from clinical visits between January 2018 and March 2021 using the National Health Insurance service database, which stores data on all citizens of Korea (~50 million people). The number and distribution of monthly visits for CVDs were compared before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the differences were analyzed using the Mann–Whitney U test and Levene’s test. Our data showed similar incidences of cerebral hemorrhage and ischemic heart disease, a lower incidence of cerebral infarction, and higher incidences of myocardial infarction, cardiac failure, and arrhythmia during COVID-19. Despite statistical differences, the changes in incidences were not considered meaningful. The monthly incidences also remained similar throughout the year, without seasonal variations, both before and during the COVID-19 outbreak. This study found no significant changes in the incidences or monthly variation in CVDs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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Review

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20 pages, 942 KiB  
Review
Unlocking the Diagnostic Potential of Saliva: A Comprehensive Review of Infrared Spectroscopy and Its Applications in Salivary Analysis
by Charlotte Delrue, Sander De Bruyne and Marijn M. Speeckaert
J. Pers. Med. 2023, 13(6), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm13060907 - 28 May 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2199
Abstract
Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is a noninvasive and rapid analytical technique that provides information on the chemical composition, structure, and conformation of biomolecules in saliva. This technique has been widely used to analyze salivary biomolecules, owing to its label-free advantages. Saliva contains a complex [...] Read more.
Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is a noninvasive and rapid analytical technique that provides information on the chemical composition, structure, and conformation of biomolecules in saliva. This technique has been widely used to analyze salivary biomolecules, owing to its label-free advantages. Saliva contains a complex mixture of biomolecules including water, electrolytes, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids which are potential biomarkers for several diseases. IR spectroscopy has shown great promise for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases such as dental caries, periodontitis, infectious diseases, cancer, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease, as well as for drug monitoring. Recent advancements in IR spectroscopy, such as Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and attenuated total reflectance (ATR) spectroscopy, have further enhanced its utility in salivary analysis. FTIR spectroscopy enables the collection of a complete IR spectrum of the sample, whereas ATR spectroscopy enables the analysis of samples in their native form, without the need for sample preparation. With the development of standardized protocols for sample collection and analysis and further advancements in IR spectroscopy, the potential for salivary diagnostics using IR spectroscopy is vast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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16 pages, 665 KiB  
Review
The Meaning and Reliability of Minimal Important Differences (MIDs) for Clinician-Reported Outcome Measures (ClinROMs) in Dermatology—A Scoping Review
by Reinhart Speeckaert, Arno Belpaire, Sandrine Herbelet, Marijn M. Speeckaert and Nanja van Geel
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(7), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12071167 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2329
Abstract
Background: Clinician-reported outcome measures (ClinROMs) are frequently used in clinical trials and daily practice to evaluate the disease status and evolution of skin disorders. The minimal important difference (MID) represents the smallest difference that decreases the disease impact enough to make a treatment [...] Read more.
Background: Clinician-reported outcome measures (ClinROMs) are frequently used in clinical trials and daily practice to evaluate the disease status and evolution of skin disorders. The minimal important difference (MID) represents the smallest difference that decreases the disease impact enough to make a treatment change worthwhile for patients. As no clear guidance exists on the preferred method to calculate MIDs for ClinROMs, we evaluated how the published values for different skin disorders should be interpreted. Methods: A systematic search was performed for MIDs of ClinROMs that focus on skin disorders and/or symptoms. The results of the questions in the credibility instrument for MIDs of Devji et al., 2020 were analyzed to gain insights into the meaning of these MIDs. Results: 29 MIDs were identified. The most common skin diseases were atopic dermatitis/eczema, followed by bullous disorders and psoriasis. A minimal important difference from the patients’ perspective was determined in 31% of the cases. However, in 41.4% of the cases, it concerned a substantial rather than a minimal difference in disease severity rated by physicians. Over half (55.1%) of the studies contained an inadequate number of patients (n < 150). MID values increased substantially in patients with severe compared to mild disease. Conclusions: MIDs of ClinROMs for skin disorders should be carefully interpreted due to the substantial differences in methodology between the studies. There is an urgent need for a consensus method to report reliable MIDs. Otherwise, this lack of uniformity could not only affect the design and conclusion of clinical trials but also skew treatment decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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Other

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10 pages, 258 KiB  
Study Protocol
Needs and Expectations of Long-Term Cancer Survivors: Multi-Centre Study Protocol
by Antonio Zamudio-Sánchez, Pilar Camarero-Gómez, Estefanía Rodríguez-Manjón, María Rosa Iglesias-Parra, Juan Gómez-Salgado and Adolfo Romero
J. Pers. Med. 2024, 14(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm14010064 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Cancer is a social issue as its outreach affects not only mortality (it is the second cause of death in our environment) but also the costs due to morbidity and the distress it causes, as well as the losses and consequences in personal, [...] Read more.
Cancer is a social issue as its outreach affects not only mortality (it is the second cause of death in our environment) but also the costs due to morbidity and the distress it causes, as well as the losses and consequences in personal, family, work, and even social areas. This study is trying to find out the health needs of long-term cancer survivors and their perceptions and expectations of the care they received during their survival stage. For this, a joint, cross-sectional descriptive study with a qualitative and quantitative approach has been designed. For the qualitative approach, we have used different focus groups representing different geographical areas of the Spanish territory. For the qualitative approach, we have used a validated questionnaire. This study will provide a better knowledge of the quality of life of these patients, as well as their level of unmet and even unexpressed needs, in order to develop effective strategies and interventions that allow for the implementation of adapted care plans that include such unexpressed needs. This study will also allow for the creation and development of assessment methods for health results from the patient’s perspective and experience. These issues require a multidisciplinary, complex approach. These survivors may require not well-known health services, as the number of these patients has grown recently, and their survival time is also longer. This research explores a wider and more thorough perspective of long-term cancer survivors’ needs, experiences, and expectations to be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology: An Important Science of Public Health and Disease)
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