Objectives To identify and investigate different cohorts of cancer patients’ use of physical rehabilitation and specialised palliative care (SPC) services, focusing on patients with incurable cancer and the impact of social vulnerability.
Methods The sample originated from patients diagnosed during 2013–2018 and alive 1 January 2015. Use of physical rehabilitation and/or SPC units were identified from contacts registered in population-based administrative databases. Competing-risks regression models were applied to investigate disparities with regard to social vulnerability, disease duration, gender and age.
Results A total of 101 268 patients with cancer were included and 60 125 survived longer than 3 years after their diagnosis. Among the 41 143 patients, who died from cancer, 66%, survived less than 1 year, 23% survived from 1 to 2 years and 11% survived from 2 to 3 years. Contacts regarding physical rehabilitation services appeared in the entire cancer trajectory, whereas contacts regarding SPC showed a steep increase as time drew closer to death. The largest disparity was related to disease duration. Socially vulnerable patients had less contact with SPC, while a larger proportion of the socially vulnerable cancer survivors used rehabilitation, compared with the non-vulnerable patients.
Conclusions This study provides a previously unseen detailed overview of the use of physical rehabilitation and/or SPC among patients with incurable cancer. The services appeared to overlap at a group level in the cancer trajectory, emphasising the importance of awareness with regard to coordination and combination of the services. Disparities between socially vulnerable or non-vulnerable patients were identified.
- Hospice care
- Terminal care
- Supportive care
Data availability statement
No data are available.
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Contributors All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data management and analysis were performed by J-JKM. The first draft of the manuscript was written by J-JKM and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. J-JKM is responsible for the overall content as the guarantor.
Funding This study was supported by the Danish Cancer Society (R223-A13094-18-S68) through the Danish Research Center for Equality in Cancer (COMPAS), a faculty scholarship from the Faculty of Health Sciences on University of Southern Denmark, and REHPA, the Danish Knowledge Centre for Rehabilitation and Palliative care.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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