A population-based cohort study exploring denominators for rehabilitation and palliative care programs
Introduction. In this study, we present data from a population-based cohort of incident cancer patients separated in long- and short-term survivors. Our aim was to procure denominators for use in the planning of rehabilitation and palliative care programs. Material and methods. A registry-linkage cohort study. All cancer patients, diagnosed from 1993 to 2003 from a 470 000 large population, were followed individually from diagnosis to death or until 31 December 2008. Long-term survivors lived five years or more after the time of the cancer diagnosis (TOCD). Short-term survivors died less than five years after TOCD. Results. The cohort comprised 24 162 incident cancer patients with 41% long-term survivors (N = 9813). Seventy percent of the cohort was 60 + years at TOCD. The 14 349 short-term survivors' median survival was 0.6 year, and 78% died less than two years after TOCD. A 12 years' difference in age at TOCD was seen between long- and short-term survivors, with median ages of 60 versus 72 years, respectively. Females comprised 64% of long-term, and 46% of short-term survivors. The proportion of breast and lung cancers differed between the groups: Long-term survivors: 31% breast cancer, 2.4% lung cancer. Short-term survivors: 21% lung cancer, 7.2% breast cancer. Chemotherapy was provided to 15% of all patients, and to 10% of the 60 + year olds. Discussion. The epidemiology of long- and short-term survivors shows significant differences with regard to age at TOCD, cancer types and sex. Two-year crude cancer survival seems as a clinically relevant cut point for characterizing potential "denominators" for rehabilitation or palliative care programs. From this cohort of incident cancer patients, and using two-year survival as a cut point, it could be estimated that 54% would candidate to a "care trajectory" focusing on rehabilitation and 46% a "care trajectory" focusing on palliative care at TOCD.
Acta Oncologica, 2014, Vol 53, Issue 4, p. 493-501