Characteristics of customary non-attenders in general practice who are diagnosed with cancer: A cross-sectional study in Denmark

Henry Jensen, Henrik Møller, Peter Vedsted

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OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore individual and structural factors in patients with cancer and their potential association with customary non-attendance in general practice.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study of all patients aged 50-89 years who were diagnosed with an incident cancer in 2009-2013 in Denmark. We investigated associations between being a customary non-attender (defined as having no consultations in general practice in the 19-36 months before diagnosis) and selected patient-related factors (demography, socioeconomic status), health-related factors (multimorbidity) and structural factors (urbanisation degree, list size of general practice and use of out-of-hours services) using logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 123,943 cancer patients were included; 11,567 (9.3%) of these were non-attenders. Non-attendance was associated with being more than 70 years of age, being single, having short or long education and being financially affluent. Non-attendance was rarely seen in cancer patients with (multi)morbidity, in individuals living in an area with 2,000-99,999 inhabitants and in individuals having contact with the out-of-hours services.

CONCLUSION: Specific groups of cancer patients were more often customary non-attenders in general practice. General practice may need to reach out more directly to these patients to ensure more timely cancer diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13143
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Denmark
  • cancer
  • frequent attenders
  • general practice
  • neoplasms
  • referral and consultation
  • socioeconomic factors


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