Intensity of care in cancer patients in the last year of life: a retrospective data linkage study

Xhyljeta Luta, Katharina Diernberger, Joanna Bowden, Joanne Droney, Peter S Hall, Joachim Marti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Delivering high-quality palliative and end-of-life care for cancer patients poses major challenges for health services. We examine the intensity of cancer care in England in the last year of life. Methods: We included cancer decedents aged 65+ who died between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2017. We analysed healthcare utilisation and costs in the last 12 months of life including hospital-based activities and primary care. Results: Healthcare utilisation and costs increased sharply in the last month of life. Hospital costs were the largest cost elements and decreased with age (0.78, 95% CI: 0.73–0.72, p < 0.005 for age group 90+ compared to age 65–69 and increased substantially with comorbidity burden (2.2, 95% CI: 2.09–2.26, p < 0.005 for those with 7+ comorbidities compared to those with 1–3 comorbidities). The costs were highest for haematological cancers (1.45, 95% CI: 1.38–1.52, p < 0.005) and those living in the London region (1.10, 95% CI: 1.02–1.19, p < 0.005). Conclusions: Healthcare in the last year of life for advanced cancer patients is costly and offers unclear value to patients and the healthcare system. Further research is needed to understand distinct cancer populations’ pathways and experiences before recommendations can be made about the most appropriate models of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-719
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Early online date11 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Neoplasms/therapy
  • Palliative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Terminal Care


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