UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Symptom Burden and Time from Symptom Onset to Cancer Diagnosis in Patients with Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A Multicenter Retrospective Analysis Baronas, Victoria A.; Arif, Arif A.; Bhang, Eric; Ladua, Gale K.; Brown, Carl J.; Donnellan, Fergal; Gill, Sharlene; Stuart, Heather C.; Loree, Jonathan M.

Abstract

Background: The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is decreasing in individuals >50 years due to organised screening but has increased for younger individuals. We characterized symptoms and their timing before diagnosis in young individuals. Methods: We identified all patients diagnosed with CRC between 1990–2017 in British Columbia, Canada. Individuals 50 (n = 2570, LoCRC) underwent chart review to identify CRC related symptoms at diagnosis and determine time from symptom onset to diagnosis. Results: Across all stages of CRC, EoCRC presented with significantly more symptoms than LoCRC (Stage 1 mean ± SD: 1.3 ± 0.9 vs. 0.7 ± 0.9, p = 0.0008; Stage 4: 3.3 ± 1.5 vs. 2.3 ± 1.7, p < 0.0001). Greater symptom burden at diagnosis was associated with worse survival in both EoCRC (p < 0.0001) and LoCRC (p < 0.0001). When controlling for cancer stage, both age (HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.8–1.0, p = 0.008) and increasing symptom number were independently associated with worse survival in multivariate models. Conclusions: Patients with EoCRC present with a greater number of symptoms of longer duration than LoCRC; however, time from patient reported symptom onset was not associated with worse outcomes.

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