Differences in place of death between lung cancer and COPD patients: A 14-country study using death certificate data

Joachim Cohen*, Kim Beernaert, Lieve Van den Block, Lucas Morin, Katherine Hunt, Guido Miccinesi, Marylou Cardenas-Turanzas, Bregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Rod MacLeod, Miguel Ruiz-Ramos, Donna M. Wilson, Martin Loucka, Agnes Csikos, Yong Joo Rhee, Joan Teno, Winne Ko, Luc Deliens, Dirk Houttekier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer are leading causes of death with comparable symptoms at the end of life. Cross-national comparisons of place of death, as an important outcome of terminal care, between people dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer have not been studied before. We collected population death certificate data from 14 countries (year: 2008), covering place of death, underlying cause of death, and demographic information. We included patients dying from lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and used descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regressions to describe patterns in place of death. Of 5,568,827 deaths, 5.8% were from lung cancer and 4.4% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Among lung cancer decedents, home deaths ranged from 12.5% in South Korea to 57.1% in Mexico, while hospital deaths ranged from 27.5% in New Zealand to 77.4% in France. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, the proportion dying at home ranged from 10.4% in Canada to 55.4% in Mexico, while hospital deaths ranged from 41.8% in Mexico to 78.9% in South Korea. Controlling for age, sex, and marital status, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were significantly less likely die at home rather than in hospital in nine countries. Our study found in almost all countries that those dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as compared with those from lung cancer are less likely to die at home and at a palliative care institution and more likely to die in a hospital or a nursing home. This might be due to less predictable disease trajectories and prognosis of death in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41533
Journalnpj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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