UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Patterns of Healthcare Utilization Leading to Diagnosis of Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer (yCRC): Population-Based Case-Control Study Farooq, Ameer; Brown, Carl J.; Sayre, E. C.; Raval, Manoj J.; Loree, Jonathan M.; Garg, Ria; De Vera, Mary


Background: The increasing risk of young-onset colorectal cancer (yCRC) in adults < 50 years has called for better understanding of patients’ pathways to diagnosis. This study evaluated patterns of healthcare utilization before diagnosis of yCRC. Methods: Using linked administrative health databases in British Columbia, Canada, we identified yCRC cases and cancer-free controls matched (1:10) on age, sex, and healthcare utilization. The index date was the date of diagnosis for yCRC cases and matched date for controls. Outpatient visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations over a 5-year prediagnosis period (e.g., year-1 to year-5) were compared using descriptive statistics and Poisson regression models. Results: The study included 2567 yCRC cases (49.6% females, 43.0 ± 5.8 years) and 25,455 controls (48.6% females, 43.0 ± 5.8 years). We observed an increasing number of outpatient visits from prediagnosis year-5 (median = 3) to year-1 (median = 8) for yCRC cases. Among controls, outpatient visits were stable and did not have a pattern of increase. Poisson regression models indicated higher adjusted count ratios for outpatient visits for yCRC cases compared to controls in the year before diagnosis (1.11; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.15). In the year before diagnosis, 35.1% of yCRC cases had potentially related visits to CRC (e.g., nausea, vomiting) and 16.9% had potentially red flag visits (e.g., gastrointestinal hemorrhage or iron deficiency anemia). Conclusions: Using population-based data, we found that individuals with yCRC did not have higher healthcare utilization than individuals without in the prediagnosis period except for the year before diagnosis.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


CC BY 4.0