Guideline for referral of patients with suspected colorectal cancer by family physicians and other primary care providers

Can Fam Physician. 2014 Aug;60(8):717-23, e383-90.
[Article in English, French]


Objective: The aim of this guideline is to assist FPs and other primary care providers with recognizing features that should raise their suspicions about the presence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in their patients.

Composition of the committee: Committee members were selected from among the regional primary care leads from the Cancer Care Ontario Provincial Primary Care and Cancer Network, the members of the Ontario Colorectal Cancer Screening Advisory Committee, and the members of the Cancer Care Ontario Gastrointestinal Cancer Disease Site Group.

Methods: This guideline was developed through systematic review of the evidence base, synthesis of the evidence, and formal external review involving Canadian stakeholders to validate the relevance of recommendations.

Report: Evidence-based guidelines were developed to improve the management of patients presenting with clinical features of CRC within the Canadian context.

Conclusion: The judicious balancing of suspicion of CRC and level of risk of CRC should encourage timely referral by FPs and primary care providers. This guideline might also inform indications for referral to CRC diagnostic assessment programs.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Colonic Polyps / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Family Practice / standards
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Rectum
  • Referral and Consultation / standards*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Weight Loss