Bleeding-related symptoms in colorectal cancer: a 4-year nationwide population-based study.
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CitationAliment. Pharmacol. Ther. 2014, 39 (1):77-84
AbstractLittle is known about the major presenting features of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) in a population-based setting, especially regarding bleeding-related symptoms.
To determine the proportion of CRC patients presenting with bleeding-related symptoms, to compare bleeders and nonbleeders and to explore the role of anticoagulants in bleeders.
This was a nationwide, population-based, retrospective study, investigating all patients diagnosed with CRC in Iceland from 2008 to 2011. Bleeding-related symptoms were defined as overt bleeding, iron deficiency anaemia or a positive faecal occult blood test. Obstructive symptoms were defined as a confirmed diagnosis of ileus or dilated intestines on imaging.
Data were available for 472/496 (95%) patients, males 51%, mean age 69 (±13) years. In all, 348 (74%) patients had bleeding-related symptoms; of these 348 patients, 61% had overt bleeding. Bleeders were less likely than nonbleeders to have metastases at diagnosis, 19% vs. 34% (P < 0.001). Overt bleeders were less likely than nonbleeders to have obstructive symptoms, 2% vs. 16% respectively (P < 0.0001). Occult bleeders were more likely to have proximal cancer (69%) than both overt (17%) and nonbleeders (44%) (P < 0.0001); however, they were less likely than nonbleeders to have metastases (22% vs. 35%, P < 0.05). Bleeders were more likely to use warfarin than nonbleeders (9% vs. 3%, P < 0.05); the use of low-dose aspirin was the same (24%).
The majority of patients with CRC present with bleeding-related symptoms. Bleeders with CRC present earlier than nonbleeders. Warfarin use may induce bleeding in some patients, resulting in an earlier diagnosis.
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