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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • oncology;
  • late effects;
  • quality of life;
  • health service use

Abstract

Objective

Cancer survivors (CSs) are at risk of developing late effects (LEs) associated with the disease and its treatment. This paper compares the health status, care needs and use of health services by CSs with LEs and CSs without LEs.

Methods

Cancer survivors (n = 613) were identified via the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and invited to participate in a postal survey that was administered by their general practitioner. The survey assessed self-reported LEs, health status, health service use and unmet care needs. A total of 289 (47%) CSs responded to the survey, and 93% of respondents completed a LEs scale.

Results

Forty-one per cent (111/269) of CSs reported LEs. Survivors without LEs and survivors with LEs were comparable in terms of age and gender. The LEs group reported a significantly greater number of co-morbidities, lower physical health and mental health scores, greater overall health service use and more unmet needs. Unadjusted logistic regression analysis found that cancer site, time since diagnosis and treatment were significantly associated with reporting of LEs. CSs who received combination therapies compared with CSs who received single treatments were over two and a half times more likely to report LEs (OR = 2.63, 95% CI = 1.32–5.25) after controlling for all other variables.

Conclusions

The CS population with LEs comprises a particularly vulnerable group of survivors who have multiple health care problems and needs and who require tailored care plans that take account of LEs and their impact on health-related quality of life. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.