Long waiting times from early symptoms to diagnosis and treatment may influence the staging and prognosis of patients with colorectal cancer.
Dr Alonso-Abreu and colleagues analyzed the effect of colonoscopy timing on the outcome of these patients.
The researchers compared the outcome of patients with suspected colorectal cancer according to diagnostic colonoscopy timing.
The study was conducted at the Open Access Endoscopy Service of the tertiary public healthcare center Hospital Universitario de Canarias, in the Spanish island of Tenerife.
Consecutive patients diagnosed of colorectal cancer between 2008 and 2010, fulfilling 1 or more National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence criteria, were assigned to early colonoscopy or to standard-schedule colonoscopy at the discretion of the referring physician.
|Stage IV was confirmed in 14% of patients diagnosed in the early colonoscopy group|
|Diseases of the Colon & Rectum|
Tumor staging at diagnosis and long-term survival after treatment were compared in both strategies.
The team's primary outcomes measured were the stage at presentation and overall survival, as determined by prompt or standard referral.
Overall, 257 patients with colorectal cancer were diagnosed.
The research team found TNM stages I and II in 54%, and 42% of patients in the early colonoscopy group and standard-schedule colonoscopy group.
The researchers confirmed stage IV in 14% of patients diagnosed in the early colonoscopy group, and in 28% detected in the standard-schedule colonoscopy group.
The team found that survival rates at 12 and 60 months after treatment were significantly higher in the early colonoscopy group compared with the standard-schedule colonoscopy group.
Dr Alonso-Abreu's team concludes, "Colonoscopy within 30 days from referral improves outcome in patients with symptomatic colorectal cancer."