Patterns of clinical features prior to diagnosis in patients with colorectal cancer: a retrospective cohort study

Start Date Sep 2020

Code C14-C

Status Ongoing

Project Lead
Senior Lead
Marie Moullet, Dr Garth Funston, Jenny Bovaird – PPI member (all Cambridge), Luke Mounce (Exeter), Prof Niek de Wit (Utrecht)

Project summary

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK. Despite the existence of bowel cancer screening programmes, the majority of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed following symptomatic presentation in primary care. Timely diagnosis following symptomatic presentation matters because earlier detection allows earlier treatment and improved outcomes, with increased survival rates when cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Existing evidence suggests that rates of clinical features and activities (including prescription rates, new relevant diagnoses and anaemia) increase long before a colorectal cancer diagnosis is made, highlighting potential opportunities for a more timely diagnosis.

In this study, we aim to examine the patterns of clinical features and common blood tests in a cohort of colorectal patients diagnosed between 2012 and 2015 in England. Our study is likely to shed light on a diagnostic window during which a more timely diagnosis can occur.



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