Delay in the diagnosis and outcome of colorectal cancer: a prospective study

Eur J Surg Oncol. 1999 Apr;25(2):173-8. doi: 10.1053/ejso.1998.0622.


Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the incidence of the delay in the diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma, possible causes of this delay and its effects on outcome.

Methods: A prospective study was performed on 100 patients affected by colorectal cancer. Duration of symptoms was calculated from the date of onset of symptoms to the date of surgery.

Results: Sixty-nine patients suffered delays in treatment of more than 12 weeks from the onset of symptoms. In patients with symptoms of less than 12 weeks' duration there was a higher incidence of radical surgery and none of these patients presented, at the time of surgery, a neoplastic dissemination. Multivariate analysis, however, showed that the only factors with an independent effect on 5-year survival and disease-free survival were Dukes' stage and the presence of pre-operative complications.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that, independent of the diagnostic delay, the outcome of the colorectal cancer is only conditioned by tumour stage and by complicated cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome