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.
Dr Hamilton and colleagues from England performed a cohort study of 349 patients with primary colorectal cancer.
Survival data for 3 to 8 years after diagnosis were taken from the cancer registry.
The research team studied 6 features.
|Initial rectal bleeding was associated with reduced mortality|
|British Journal of Cancer|
The team evaluated rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss, and anemia.
The researchers found that 2 of these were significantly associated with different staging and mortality.
Rectal bleeding as an initial symptom was associated with less advanced staging, and with reduced mortality.
The team noted that mild anemia, with a hemoglobin of 10 to13 g dl1, was associated with more advanced staging.
In addition, the researchers observed that anemia was associated with worse mortality.
When corrected for emergency admission, sex, and the site of the tumour, the hazard ratio for mild anemia was 1.7.
Dr Hamilton's team concludes, “No relationship was found between the duration of symptoms and staging or mortality.”