Objective: We investigated self-reported health care utilisation of women who survived breast cancer for 10 years and identified predictors of health care utilisation.
Methods: The population-based Eindhoven Cancer Registry was used to select all women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, in six hospitals in the Netherlands, and were disease-free at the time of data collection. Health status, psychological well-being, satisfaction with life and health care use were compared with same age controls. Logistic regression was used to identify predictors of health care utilisation.
Results: Of the 254 women who were sent a questionnaire, 183 (72%) responded. Breast cancer survivors had a similar health status and psychological well-being and a better satisfaction with life compared to same age controls. The proportion of breast cancer survivors (79%) who visited a specialist in the past 12 months was significantly higher compared to controls (53%). Young breast cancer survivors (45-54 at time of completing questionnaire) more often visited a physical therapist (56%) or complementary caregiver (26%) than controls (29 and 13%, respectively). Spontaneously reported problems (fatigue, arm problems) as a consequence of cancer and co-morbidity showed the strongest associations with health care utilisation.
Conclusions: Although self-reported health, satisfaction with life and psychological well-being were similar or even better in long-term breast cancer survivors compared to those in population controls, survivors more often attended a specialist, physical therapist and complementary caregiver in the past 12 months. Survivors of young age appear to have the highest use of health care services compared to age-matched controls, especially related to fatigue and arm problems.