An epidemiological study evaluating the relationship of distance from a tertiary care cancer center to early detection of colorectal carcinoma

Vijay K. Koka, Anil Poth, Genise N. Fraiman, David Hanekom, James F. Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Objective: AJCC stage at diagnosis determines the treatment approach and indirectly predicts outcome in patients with colorectal carcinoma. The purpose of our study was to investigate whether there was a delay in diagnosis leading to a more advanced stage at diagnosis (which affects outcome) of patients with colorectal cancers because of distance from a referral center, after positive fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Design: Our retrospective observational study involved all cases of colonic and rectosigmoid cancers that were referred for an endoscopic procedure after an initial positive FOBT done as a part of routine screening in asymptomatic patients. Participants: Roger Maris Cancer Center and University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Results: Between the years 1996-2001, 178 subjects with biopsy-proven colon cancer and 80 patients with rectosigmoid cancer were included in our study. Pearson's correlation coefficients were constructed to look at the relationship between distance from a referral center (place where the diagnosis was made) and stage at diagnosis in patients with colonic and rectosigmoid malignancies. For the colon cancer group, the regression coefficient between AJCC stage at diagnosis and distance from the referral center was 0.013 and for rectosigmoid cancers it was 0.12. Even after stratifying distances into tertiles, the correlation coefficients did not show a significant relationship (0.04 for colon and 0.16 for rectosigmoid cancers). Conclusion: Distance (of residence) from a tertiary care center does not seem to be a barrier to early diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma and primary care providers in rural settings are referring patients appropriately leading to optimal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2481-2483
Number of pages3
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 19 2002



  • Colon cancer
  • Detection
  • Distance
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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