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Int J Family Med. 2015;2015:952314. doi: 10.1155/2015/952314. Epub 2015 Aug 27.

Are Cancer Patients' Socioeconomic and Cultural Factors Associated with Contact to General Practitioners in the Last Phase of Life?

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The Palliative Team, Aarhus University Hospital, Noerrebrogade 44, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
The Research Unit for General Practice, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
The Research Unit for General Practice, University of Southern Denmark, 7000 Odense, Denmark.
Research Centre for Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care, The Research Unit for General Practice, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.



General practitioners (GPs) play an important role in end of life care, which should be offered regardless of socioeconomic position and cultural factors. The aim was to analyse associations between GP contacts at the end of life and socioeconomic and cultural characteristics of Danish cancer patients.


Population-based study identifying 599 adults who died of cancer from March to November 2006, in Aarhus County, Denmark. Associations between health register-based data on "total GP face-to-face contacts" and "GP home visits" during the last 90 days of life and patients' socioeconomic and cultural characteristics were calculated.


Having low income (RR: 1.18 (95% CI: 1.03; 1.35)) and being immigrants or descendants of immigrants (RR: 1.17 (95% CI: 1.02; 1.35)) were associated with GP face-to-face contacts. However, patients living in large municipalities had lower likelihood of having both GP face-to-face contacts in general (RR: 0.85 (95% CI: 0.77;0.95)) and GP home visits (RR: 0.89 (95% CI: 0.80; 0.99)).


This study indicates higher proportion of GP contacts to economically deprived patients and immigrants/descendants of immigrants. These subgroups were, however, small and results should be looked upon with caution. Furthermore, palliative needs were not included and together with urban/rural the underlying causes need further investigation.

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