Increased health care utilisation among 10-year breast cancer survivors

Support Care Cancer. 2006 May;14(5):436-43. doi: 10.1007/s00520-005-0007-4. Epub 2006 Jan 10.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Women's Health Services / statistics & numerical data*