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Table 1 Number of patients with abdominal symptoms recorded during consultation, and between consultation and diagnosis of colon and rectal cancer

From: Symptoms and signs of colorectal cancer, with differences between proximal and distal colon cancer: a prospective cohort study of diagnostic accuracy in primary care

  All cancer (N = 511) Colorectal cancer (N = 94) Colon (N = 65) Proximal part of colon (N = 18) Distal part of colon (N = 26) Rectum (N = 29)
at consultation at consultation at consultation after consultationa at consultation after consultationa at consultation after consultationa at consultation after consultationa
Patient sex (Male / Female) 231/280 35/59 22/43   5/13   9/16   13/16  
Patient age (Median / Mean / Range) 71/69/28–96 75/71/39–92 73/71/39–92       75/70/49–86  
New < 180 days / New > 180 days / Recurrent 307/134/ 70 55/25/14 37/20/8       18/5/6  
Abdominal symptoms
Abdominal pain, upper part 45 14 9 13 3 5 3 6 5  
Abdominal pain, lower part 37 14 9 15 3 5 3 8 5  
Constipation 22 13 7 6 2 1 2 2 6 2
Diarrhea 16 10 5 4    4 2 5 3
Distended abdomen, bloating 27 12 7     4   5  
Increased belching, flatulence 17 6 3   1   1   3  
Acid regurgitation 14 5 1     1   4  
Rectal bleeding 18 16 8 13   3 6 6 8 8
Unexpected genital bleeding 4          
Haematuria, macroscopic 7          
Increased urinary frequency 14 2 1     1   1  
Other abdominal problems 34 6 5 2  2   2   1  
Only one abdominal symptom 66 21 13 11  2 3 7 2 8 5
More than one abdominal symptom 63 23 13 17  3 5 7 8 10 2
Any abdominal symptom 129 (25%) 44 (47%) 26 (40%) 28  5 8 14 10 18 (62%) 7
No symptom recorded 382 50 39 11  13b 5 11b 1 11 4
Non-specific symptoms (given at least one abdominal symptom)
Lack of appetite 26 10 7 3  1 1 3 1 3  
Unusual tiredness 25 9 6 3  1 1 2 1 3 1
Involuntary weight loss 18 6 3 7   3 3 2 3 3
Only one general symptom 24 5 4 6  1 3 1 1 1 2
More than one general symptom 19 9 6 3  1 1 4 1 3 1
Any general symptom 43 (33%) 14 (32%) 10 (38%) 9  2 4 5 2 4 (22%) 3
  1. Patient sex and age, and time from consultation to diagnosis for new cases of cancer. Cohort study with 61,802 patients in primary care (2011–12). Distal colon: 25 sigmoideum + 1 descending. Proximal colon: 8 coecum + 1 appendix + 3 right flexure + 5 transversal + 1 proximal location not further specified. 21 cases of colon cancer did not have information about location. a After consultation, i.e. between consultation and diagnosis: Symptoms not already recorded at consultation for these patients. “Only one..”, “More than..” and “Any abdominal symptom” in this column count patients who had no symptom at consultation. b P-value distal/proximal part of colon = 0.07 (Fisher's exact test). “Abdominal pain” and “Acute abdomen” in free text have both been recorded as both upper and lower abdominal pain. “Changed bowel habit" recorded as both constipation and diarrhea