The mortality of colorectal cancer in relation to the initial symptom at presentation to primary care and to the duration of symptoms: a cohort study using medical records
British Journal of Cancer
Cancer Research UK
The association between the staging of colorectal cancer and mortality is well known. Much less researched is the relationship between the duration of symptoms and outcome, and whether particular initial symptoms carry a different prognosis. We performed a cohort study of 349 patients with primary colorectal cancer in whom all their prediagnostic symptoms and investigation results were known. Survival data for 3-8 years after diagnosis were taken from the cancer registry. Six features were studied: rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss, and anaemia. Two of these were significantly associated with different staging and mortality. Rectal bleeding as an initial symptom was associated with less advanced staging (odds ratio from one Duke's stage to the next 0.50, 95% confidence interval 0.31, 0.79; P=0.003) and with reduced mortality (Cox's proportional hazard ratio (HR) 0.56 (0.41, 0.79); P=0.001. Mild anaemia, with a haemoglobin of 10.0-12.9 g dl(-1), was associated with more advanced staging (odds ratio 2.2 (1.2, 4.3); P=0.021) and worse mortality (HR 1.5 (0.98, 2.3): P=0.064). When corrected for emergency admission, sex, and the site of the tumour, the HR for mild anaemia was 1.7 (1.1, 2.6); P=0.015. No relationship was found between the duration of symptoms and staging or mortality.
This Project was funded by the Department of Health.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Vol. 95, pp. 1321 - 1325
Place of publication