Colorectal cancer outcomes determined by mode of presentation: analysis of population data in England between 2010 and 2014
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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between mode of presentation; categorized as emergency, suspected cancer outpatient referral pathway (2-week wait or 2WW pathway), non-cancer suspected outpatient referral (non-2-week wait pathway) or following screening, and stage of diagnosis and survival in patients with colorectal cancer in England. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort observational study of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer between January 2010 and December 2014 in England using data from Public Health England collated from regional cancer registries. RESULTS: The most common route to diagnosis among 167,501 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer was via the non-cancer suspect (non-2WW) outpatient referral pathway (35.1%) followed by the suspected cancer (2WW) referral pathway (31.6%), emergency presentation (22.8%) and most infrequently following screening (10.6%) (p < 0.01). Screening confers the greatest likelihood of early-stage diagnosis (61.6%) compared to other modes of presentation. The 5-year overall survival was 81.8%, 53.3%, 53.0% and 27.6% in those diagnosed via screening, 2WW, non-2WW pathway and emergency presentation, respectively. Patients from most deprived regions were more likely to be diagnosed following emergency presentation (27.7 vs 19.7%, p < 0.01) and less likely via screening (8.1 vs 12%, p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Asymptomatic individuals diagnosed following screening have earlier stage cancers and better survival, the opposite was observed in those diagnosed following emergency presentation. Patients referred via the 2WW pathway do not have better survival outcomes when compared to those referred via the non-2WW pathway. In addition, this study has identified socio-economic groups that need to be targeted with public health campaigns to improve screening uptake.
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