Modes of presentation and pathways to diagnosis of colorectal cancer in Queensland

B.M. Lynch, P. Baade, Lin Fritschi, B. Leggett, N. Owen, K. Pakenham, B. Newman, J.F. Aitken

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe the process of colorectal cancer diagnosis in Queensland, and to determine factors associated with time to diagnosis.Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional study of 1996 patients with colorectal cancer recruited through the Queensland Cancer Registry. Data were collected by computer-assisted telephone interview between May 2003 and August 2005.Main outcome measures: Time to diagnosis: pre-presentation time (time from first noticing a symptom to first presenting to a doctor); and post-presentation time (time between the first presentation and diagnosis).Results: Most patients (90%) had experienced symptoms before being diagnosed with colorectal cancer; only 2% of patients were diagnosed by faecal occult blood testing. Older participants and those who experienced abdominal pain had the-shortest time from symptom onset to their first doctor consultation, while participants with a change in bowel habit, or rectal bleeding, and those without private health insurance tended to wait longer to see a doctor Participants who experienced abdominal pain were diagnosed more quickly, whereas those who experienced a change in bowel habit, women, and those without private health insurance experienced a longer time to diagnosis.Conclusions: The strong association between not having health insurance and longer post-presentation times is concerning. The other hypothesised predictors of time to diagnosis were not as strongly associated as we anticipated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-291
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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