OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of a cervical cancer (CC) diagnosis on use of health care and prescription drugs.
METHODS: This population-based register-study included Danish women aged 23-59 years and diagnosed with CC in 2001-2005. Women with a cervical screening outcome were used as comparison group. We obtained number of contacts to general practitioners (GPs), hospitals, psychologists/psychiatrists and defined daily doses (DDD) of analgesic/psychotropic prescription drugs. A difference-in-differences-design was used to estimate effect of a CC diagnosis on health-care use from five-year periods before and after the diagnosis/screening outcome.
RESULTS: In total, 926 women with CC and 1,004,759 women without cancer were included. In five years following the date of CC diagnosis, CC patients had increased their use of GPs with 8.6 (95% CI 4.8-12.4) contacts more than women in the comparison group, and with 4.12 (95% CI 3.99-4.25) more hospital contacts. In contrast, use of psychologists/psychiatrists was low and largely unaffected by the CC diagnosis. For use of prescription drugs, analgesics increased with 80 (95% CI 60-100) DDD more in CC patients than in comparison women, and for psychotropics with 304 (95% CI 261-347) DDD more.
CONCLUSIONS: A CC diagnosis was followed by an increase in use of GPs, hospitals, and analgesic/psychotropic prescription drugs, while use of psychologist/psychiatrist was largely unaffected. This pattern may indicate that pain/mental health concerns after CC either persisted or were alleviated by other means only.