Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Outcome in colorectal carcinoma: seven-year study of a population.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 16 February 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:431
  1. D N Clarke,
  2. P F Jones,
  3. C D Needham


    All 433 patients with colorectal cancer who presented in the north-east of Scotland during 1968 and 1969 were followed up for seven years or until death intervened. The incidence of colorectal cancer in the region was the highest recorded in Great Britain. Half the patients were incurable at the time of diagnosis. Nevertheless, of the 195 survivors of radical resection 146 (75%) did not die of carcinoma during the next seven years. Men with "curable" rectal cancer showed a substantially lower corrected survival rate (42%) than women (70%), but this was due to intercurrent disease not recurrence. Comparable figures for colonic carcinoma showed no difference between men (75%) and women (77%). The overall picture of colorectal cancer has apparently not changed for 20 years. Nevertheless, earlier diagnosis and timely operation--possibly with adjuvant chemotherapy--may produce useful long-term results.