Aim: National guidelines for colorectal cancer management aim to optimize cancer outcomes irrespective of postcode. However, in order to ensure equal performance of cancer services, variation in outcome must be monitored and intelligently assessed. In this study, detailed regional cancer registry data were used to quantify and explore the reasons for variation in colorectal cancer outcomes at nine hospitals in East Anglia. Method: We analysed data on colorectal cancers registered by the Eastern Cancer Registry and Information Centre (ECRIC) between 1999 and 2005. Tumours were grouped by site, in keeping with surgical resection. Multivariable Cox regression models were used to identify the effects of patient, disease and treatment variables on an individual's risk of death. Results: After adjusting for demographic, disease and treatment variables there were significant differences in survival among hospitals in emergency admissions with cancer of the right colon, in elective admissions with cancer of the left, sigmoid or recto-sigmoid colon and in emergency admissions with cancer of the rectum. There were also differences among hospitals in terms of perioperative death, nonsurgical management and numbers of nodes examined. For rectal cancers, rates of anterior resection compared with abdominoperineal excision differed, as well as the use of neoadjuvant radiotherapy. Conclusion: Detailed analysis of demographic, disease and treatment factors are required when comparing the survival of individuals with colorectal cancer across hospitals. The results imply that cancer management was not consistent across East Anglia in 1999-2005 but the reasons for this are uncertain. Nevertheless, 5-year age-standardized survival with colon cancer in the Anglia Cancer Network region is currently among the best in the UK.
- Colorectal cancer