Cancer Diagnosis and Outcomes in Michigan EDs vs Other Settings

Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Feb;30(2):283-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2010.11.029. Epub 2011 Jan 17.


Objective: This study determined the proportion of incident colorectal and lung cancers with a diagnosis associated with an emergency department (ED) visit. The characteristics of these patients and the correlation between diagnosis near an ED visit and stage at diagnosis were also examined.

Methods: A population-based sample of all Michigan cancer cases diagnosed in all EDs and other health care settings was used to extract a sample of patients >65 years old, diagnosed with colorectal and lung cancers between January 1, 1996, and June 30, 2000 (n = 20 311). Logistic regressions were used for the statistical analysis.

Results: Patients with a colorectal cancer diagnosis associated with an ED visit were more likely insured by Medicaid before diagnosis (odds ratio [OR], 1.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17-1.60), had an inpatient admission before diagnosis (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.06-1.56), had 3 or more comorbidities (OR, 4.11; 95% CI, 3.53-4.79), were more likely to be female (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.07-1.31), and were more likely to be aged 85 years and older (OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.57-2.27). Patients who had at least one primary care physician (PCP) visit before diagnosis were less likely to have a diagnosis associated with an ED visit (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.61-0.76). Patients diagnosed with lung cancer in association with an ED visit were also more likely to have an inpatient admission before diagnosis (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.02-1.43), a higher comorbidity burden (OR, 12.44; 95% CI, 10.18-15.20), be female (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.02-1.25), African-American (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.21-1.66), and older (80 years and older) (ages 80-84 years: OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.13-1.57; age 85 years and older: OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.25-1.85). Patients with an ED visit near a colorectal cancer (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.15-1.42) or lung cancer diagnosis (OR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.44-1.88) were more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage compared with patients diagnosed in other settings.

Conclusions: An examination of patients' patterns of care leading to a cancer diagnosis in association with an ED visit lends insight to conditions precipitating a more immediate diagnosis and their associated outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology