There are estimated to be around two million people living with cancer in the UK. Improved survival rates, earlier detection and an ageing population have led to cancer incidence increasing, but it is now seen as a chronic condition rather than necessarily a fatal illness. This shift has led to a growing focus on survivorship, and on the long-term needs of those living with and after cancer.
To find out how this impacts on the use of health and social care services, we used data linkage methods to track the patterns of service use across health and social care in the year after people were diagnosed with cancer.
We believe this is the first study that has attempted to link data on primary care and social care use with data held by cancer registries
We studied the primary, secondary and social care use of 8,072 people with a first diagnosis of cancer from two areas of England, for a year before diagnosis and up to 18 months after, excluding activity that occurred around the time of death.
We believe this is the first study that has attempted to link data on primary care and social care use with data held by cancer registries. This linkage allows exploration of a range of questions that previously it would not have been possible to address.
The findings are presented in our report: Use of health and social care by people with cancer. It shows clear evidence of a social services response to a person being diagnosed with cancer. The research found that 10 per cent of people received a local authority social care assessment within three months of being diagnosed with cancer, compared with seven per cent receiving care in the year before diagnosis.
Chitnis X, Steventon A, Glaser A and Bardsley M (2014) Use of health and social care by people with cancer. Research report. Nuffield Trust.