OBJECTIVE: Patients with advanced ovarian cancer have a poor prognosis and can experience debilitating symptoms in the last phase of life. Several analyses, mainly performed in the United States (US), show high rates of chemotherapy administration and hospital visits near the end-of-life in this patient category. No large European studies are available, while the organisation of palliative care differs between the US and Europe. We aimed to analyse the intensity of inpatient care near the end-of-life in the Netherlands and perform a cross-study comparison with previous reports.
METHODS: All patients with ovarian cancer that died in 2016 and 2017 were identified from the Vektis database, a data warehouse including all insurance declarations in the Netherlands. For the last 6 months of life the following parameters of aggressive care were extracted: administration of chemotherapy, emergency room (ER) visits, surgical procedures, hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions. The intensity of inpatient care was compared to previously reported European and US data.
RESULTS: Data on medical care use was available for 1775 patients. During the last 6 months of life, half of the ovarian cancer patients were admitted to hospital. Chemotherapy administration near the end-of-life was infrequent: 12% in the last month of life. Surgery and ICU admissions in the final 6 months of life were rare (<10%). Our cohort showed the lowest percentages of all five indicators of aggressive care reported thus far.
CONCLUSION: Aggressive medical care use in the final 6 months of life in this Dutch cohort of ovarian cancer patients was lower than in other previously reported cohorts.