BACKGROUND: Childhood cancer survivors (CCS) are at risk of developing long-term morbidity, which is likely to be presented to a primary care physician (PCP). Therefore, insight into CCS's PCP-based health care use is needed. We investigated the volume and underlying health problems of PCP-based health care use and the determinants for PCP-based health care use in CCS.
PROCEDURE: Data from a Dutch cohort of 6018 eligible five-year CCS were linked to the Nivel Primary Care database, which contains detailed data from a representative sample of 10% of all Dutch PCPs. Per CCS, two matched controls were selected. Negative binomial regression was performed to compare the annual number of contacts between CCS and controls, and to identify determinants for PCP-based care use among CCS.
RESULTS: This study included 602 CCS and 1204 controls. CCS were 1.3 times more likely to contact their PCP than controls (95% CI, 1.2-1.5), up to 1.5 times at attained age over 40 years (95% CI, 1.2-1.8). CCS were 4.9 times more likely to contact their PCP for new malignancies, 3.1 for hematological conditions, and 2.8 for endocrine conditions. Female sex, higher attained age, and treatment with radiotherapy were determinants for having more PCP contacts.
CONCLUSIONS: PCPs play an important role in care for CCS. CCS use more PCP-based care than matched controls, mainly for severe conditions such as malignancies, hematological, and endocrine conditions. Our results emphasize the importance of disseminating the current knowledge on long-term morbidity in CCS and on their optimal follow-up care among PCPs.