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Dying from cancer or other chronic diseases in the Netherlands: ten-year trends derived from death certificate data

DOI: 10.1186/1472-684x-8-4

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Secondary analysis of data from 1996 to 2006 on the "primary" or "underlying" cause of death from official death certificates filled out by physicians and additional data from 2003 to 2006 on the place of death from these certificates.Of the 135,000 people who died in the Netherlands in 2006, 77,000 (or 57%) died from a chronic disease. Cancer was the most frequent cause of death (40,000). Stroke accounted for 10,000 deaths, dementia for 8,000 deaths and COPD and heart failure each accounted for 6,000 deaths. Compared to 1996, the number of people who died from chronic diseases has risen by 6%.Of all non-acute deaths, almost three quarters were at least 70 years old when they died. Almost one third of the people died at home (31%), 28% in a hospital, 25% in a nursing home and 16% somewhere else.Further investments to facilitate dying at home are desirable. Death certificate data proved to be useful to describe and monitor trends in non-acute deaths. Advantages of the use of death certificate data concern the reliability of the data, the opportunities for selection on the basis of the ICD-10, and the availability and low cost price of the data.Some people die acutely and unexpectedly. Others die from a chronic disease. In the latter group death occurs after a more or less long period of sickness. They are therefore likely to experience palliative care needs. For the planning and organisation of palliative care it is important to gain insight into the background characteristics of people who die from cancer or other chronic diseases. This is especially important in the context of an ageing population, which will ultimately lead to a greater number of deaths.In the year 2000 the authors performed a first analysis of non-acute death. [1] The analysis of non-acute death presented here is an update and an extension of the study performed in 2000. This update was necessary because the previous study concerned mortality data that are now ten years old. It was also important


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