Identification of health care needs of long-term breast cancer survivors among Israeli women

Lori Mandelzweig, Angela Chetrit, Tova Amitai, Bernice Oberman, Nava Siegelmann Danieli, Barbara Silverman, Siegal Sadetzki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Improvement in treatment has extended survival of breast cancer patients. Our study aimed to characterize health service use among long-term breast cancer survivors in Israel in order to identify and address specific needs of this subpopulation. Methods: The study population included 250 women diagnosed with breast cancer, 8–12 years prior to study initiation (cases), and 250 individually matched cancer-free controls. Participants were recruited from the second largest Israeli HMO, and data were collected through personal interviews. ORs and 95 % CIs were estimated using conditional logistic regression and generalized estimating equations. Results: Greater use of health services was observed among cases, compared to an age-matched comparison group, expressed by more visits to family physicians and specialists, longer duration of visits, more requests for referrals, more frequent contact with emergency services, and hospitalizations. The study groups were similar regarding socioeconomic variables, current smoking and physical activity, BMI, and prevalence of reported morbidity. Although 80 % of cases defined the family physician as their main treating physician, half still considered their oncologist responsible for cancer follow-up. Only 14.4 and 10.4 % of cases and controls, respectively, reported receiving psychological support during the year preceding the interview. Conclusions: Further studies should assess the contribution of apprehension concerning health-related issues that still accompany breast cancer survivors, to the excess use of health services. Concern among family practitioners may contribute as well. In addition, our results emphasize the need to improve coordination between the disciplines of oncology and community medicine for the medical care of this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-746
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer survivors
  • Care needs
  • Health service use
  • Satisfaction with health services


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