Objective: The aim of this study was to describe patterns of health service utilisation among the Australian population with cancer compared with the general population. Methods: Data for all respondents aged ≥25 years from two successive National Health Surveys conducted between 2011 and 2014 were analysed. Respondents with a history of cancer were identified as the cancer group, whereas all other respondents who did not report having had a cancer were included in the non-cancer control group. Comparisons were made between the two groups using logistic regression models. Results: The population with cancer was more likely to report having consulted their general practitioner, specialist, chemist, dietician, naturopath, nurse, optometrist, dentist, audiologist and other health professionals than the non-cancer population. The cancer population was also more likely to be admitted to hospital and to have visited an out-patient clinic, emergency department and day clinic. The presence of comorbidity and a current cancer were associated with a greater likelihood of receiving health services among the population with cancer. Conclusion: The population with cancer used health services significantly more than the non-cancer population. Further studies are urgently needed to identify optimal approaches to delivery of care for this population, including barriers and enablers for their implementation. What is known about the topic?: Multimorbidity is highly prevalent among the cancer population due to risk factors shared between cancer and other chronic diseases, and the development of new conditions resulting from cancer treatment and cancer complications. However, the Australian healthcare system is not set up optimally to address issues related to multimorbidity. What does this paper add?: This study is the first step in quantifying health services use by the population with cancer compared with the general population without cancer. Cancer survivors have an increased need for specific health services, particularly among those with multimorbidity. What are the implications for practitioners?: The development of integrated care models to manage multiple chronic diseases aligned with the Australian National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions is warranted. Further studies are urgently needed to identify optimal approaches to delivery of care for this population, including barriers and enablers for their implementation.
- cancer care
- cancer survivors