Use of CT, ED presentation and hospitalisations 12 months before and after a diagnosis of cancer in Western Australia: A population-based retrospective cohort study


Objective: To examine the use of CT, emergency department (ED)-presentation and hospitalisation and in 12 months before and after a diagnosis of cancer.

Design: Population-based retrospective cohort study.

Setting: West Australian linked administrative records at individual level.

Participants: 104 009 adults newly diagnosed with cancer in 2004–2014.

Main outcome measures: CT use, ED presentations, hospitalisations.

Results: As compared with the rates in the 12th month before diagnosis, the rate of CT scans started to increase from 2 months before diagnosis with an increase in both ED presentations and hospitalisation from 1 month before the diagnosis. These rates peaked in the month of diagnosis for CT scans (477 (95% CI 471 to 482) per 1000 patients), and for hospitalisations (910 (95% CI 902 to 919) per 1000 patients), and the month prior to diagnosis for ED (181 (95% CI 178 to 184) per 1000 patients) then rapidly reduced after diagnosis but remained high for the next 12 months. While the patterns of the health services used were similar between 2004 and 2014, the rate of the health services used during after diagnosis was higher in 2014 versus 2004 except for CT use in patients with lymphohaematopoietic cancer with a significant reduction.

Conclusion: Our results showed an increase in demand for health services from 2 months before diagnosis of cancer. Increasing use of health services during and post cancer diagnosis may warrant further investigation to identify factors driving this change.


emergency department presentation, CT, lymphohaematopoietic cancer, hospitalization

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