Author(s): Cappell MS, Goldberg ES
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Abstract We systematically analyzed the relationship between 47 clinicoepidemiologic parameters and stage of colon cancer in 315 patients who underwent colon cancer surgery from 1982 through 1988 at the Robert Johnson University Hospital. A history of hemorrhoids was correlated with early cancer, possibly because of earlier self-referral (odds ratio = 18.2; chi 2 = 10.4; degrees of freedom = 1; p less than 0.001). However, anemia was correlated with advanced cancer (odds ratio = 0.21; chi 2 = 13.7; degrees of freedom = 1; p less than 0.0002). Anemia may result from chronic bleeding due to a longstanding cancer. Prior studies have suggested that intensive screening programs may produce earlier colon cancer detection; this study demonstrated for all patients at a medical center a significant trend from 1982 through 1988 of detecting colon cancer at an earlier pathologic stage and with a better differentiated histologic grade (for first half of study period 44.4\% had Dukes' stage A or B cancer, second half of study period 58.6\% had Dukes' stage A or B cancer; odds ratio = 0.56; chi 2 = 5.8; degree of freedom = 1; p less than 0.02). Possible explanations for this phenomenon are earlier self-referral because of increased patient awareness of cancer warning signs, and earlier physician detection because of greater use of colonoscopy and polypectomy and because of increased screening and surveillance. This earlier detection may herald a future significant decrease in colon cancer mortality at this hospital because prognosis is closely related to cancer stage. Further studies are required to determine if this is part of a national trend.
This article was published in J Clin Gastroenterol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion