In an equitable healthcare system, healthcare utilization should be predominantly explained by patient-perceived need and clinical need factors. This study aims to analyze whether predisposing, enabling, and need factors are associated with the utilization of supportive care (i.e., dietary care, oncological nursing care, physical therapy, psychological care, or participation in a rehabilitation program consisting of an exercise component and a psycho-educational component) among survivors of colorectal cancer in the Netherlands.
Cross-sectional data of 3957 survivors of colorectal cancer (1-11 years after diagnosis) were used. Clinical data from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry were linked to questionnaire data from the PROFILES registry. Regression analyses were used to examine which predisposing, enabling, and need factors were associated with self-reported utilization of supportive care.
Utilization of supportive care was primarily associated with younger age, patient-perceived need (i.e., lower physical health, anxious mood, depressive mood, and fatigue), and clinical need (i.e., tumor stage, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, comorbidity, having a stoma and lower BMI) factors.
In the Netherlands, utilization of supportive care by survivors of colorectal cancer is primarily associated with younger age, patient-perceived need, and clinical need factors. Apart from the association with younger age, the utilization of supportive care services seems to be quite equitable. Further research is needed to determine whether there is indeed inequity in the provision of supportive care to older survivors, or whether older survivors are less in need of supportive care.