Illness perceptions are associated with higher health care use in survivors of endometrial cancer: A study from the population-based PROFILES registry

M.S.Y Thong*, Floortje Mols, Adrian A Kaptein, Dorry Boll, Caroline Vos, Johanna M A Pijnenborg, L.V. van de Poll-Franse, N.P.M. Ezendam

*Corresponding author for this work

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According to the Common Sense Model of self-regulation, cancer survivors construct perceptions of their illness as a (mal)adaptive mechanism. These perceptions might impact on health care use. We aimed to explore the association between illness perceptions and health care use in stage I-II endometrial cancer (EC) survivors, and whether these associations differed by time since diagnosis.


A survey was conducted in 2008 by the population-based PROFILES registry among EC survivors diagnosed between 1999 and 2007. Survivors (n = 742, 77% response) completed the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (BIPQ) and questions on health care use in the past 12 months. Clinical data were accessed from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between illness perceptions and health care use.


Between 15 and 22% of the survivors had negative illness perceptions. Survivors with more negative perceptions on consequences, timeline, treatment control, identity, cognitive representation, concern, emotion, and emotional representation were more likely to make ≥ 1 visit to their family physician/general practitioner in relation to their cancer when compared with survivors with more positive illness perceptions. More negative perceptions on consequences, timeline, identity, and concern were associated with ≥ 2 general or cancer-related visits to the medical specialists. The association between negative illness perceptions and health care use was more prominent among long-term (>5 years post-diagnosis) EC survivors.


Negative illness perceptions among EC survivors were associated with higher health care use. For individuals with maladaptive illness perceptions, visits to their health care provider may reduce worry about their illness. Future research might address the effects of intervening in maladaptive illness perceptions on use of health care in this category of survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1935-1944
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • Endometrial cancer
  • Health care use
  • Illness perceptions
  • Population-based
  • Survivors

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