Features of cancer in teenagers and young adults in primary care: a population-based nested case-control study
British Journal of Cancer
Cancer Research UK and Nature Publishing Group
From twelve months after its original publication, this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
BACKGROUND: Teenagers and young adults (TYA, 15-24 years) diagnosed with cancer report repeated visits to primary care before referral. We investigated associations of symptoms and consultation frequency in primary care with TYA cancers. METHODS: Population-based, case-control study was carried out using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). A total of 1064 TYA diagnosed with cancer were matched to 13,206 controls. Symptoms independently associated with specific cancers were identified. Likelihood ratios (LRs) and positive predictive values (PPVs) were calculated. RESULTS: In the 3 months before diagnosis, 397 (42.9%) cases consulted > or =4 times vs 593(11.5%) controls (odds ratio (OR): 12.1; 95% CI: 9.7, 15.1), yielding a PPV for any cancer of 0.018%. The LR of lymphoma with a head/neck mass was 434 (95% CI: 60, 3158), with a PPV of 0.5%. Corresponding figures in other cancers included - LR of leukaemia with lymphadenopathy (any site): 29 (95% CI: 8, 112), PPV 0.015%; LR of CNS tumour with seizure: 56 (95% CI: 19, 163), PPV 0.024%; and LR of sarcoma with lump/mass/swelling: 79 (95% CI: 24, 264), PPV 0.042%. CONCLUSION: Teenagers and young adults with cancer consulted more frequently than controls in the 3 months before diagnosis. Primary care features of cancer match secondary care reports, but were of very low risk; nonetheless, some features increased the likelihood of cancer substantially and should be taken seriously when assessing TYA.
RMD is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). WH was, in part, funded by an NIHR postdoctoral fellowship. This study is based on data from the Full Feature Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) obtained under licence from the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Access to the CPRD was funded through the Medical Research Council (MRC) licence agreement with the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The conduct of this study was approved by the Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) of the MHRS (Protocol 10_056A) and the University of Bristol (reference: 35515)
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 108, pp. 2329 - 2333
Place of publication