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Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra

Print version ISSN 1137-6627


LANA, A. et al. Suspected diagnosis of cancer in hospital emergency services. Anales Sis San Navarra [online]. 2014, vol.37, n.1, pp.59-67. ISSN 1137-6627.

Background. To measure the frequency, trends and distribution of cancers with suspected diagnosis in the Hospital Emergency Services (HES) in Asturias during 2006-12. To describe the clinical characteristics of these cancers and to determine if they differ from those whose diagnosis is made in other services. Methods. Population based descriptive study of cancers registered in the Hospital Tumour Registry of Asturias (Spain), which provided data of patient characteristics, cancer variables (site, histology, stage, metastasis and delay), the hospital and service of diagnosis. Patients with confirmed diagnosis of cancer (non-melanoma of skin excluded) in the study period were included (N=26,020). Differences of cancer cases according to the service that had performed the suspected diagnosis were analyzed. We performed regression analysis of the time between the first symptom and the suspected diagnosis, the definitive diagnosis and treatment, controlling main confounders. Results. Seven point nine percent (n=2,056) of all cancer cases were suspected in a HES (annual minimum of 5.3% and maximum 10.4%, with an upward trend). These patients were mainly men (60.6%), with a mean age of 67.7 years, and with lung (21.0%) and colon cancer (15.5%). The HES ranks 6th place in the list of services which diagnosed cancer. There was more diagnosis of advanced tumours (33.0%) and metastasis (29.5%) in the HES. The HES halved the time between the first symptom and the SD (-64.3 days; p < 0.001), and between definitive diagnosis and initiation of treatment (-15.9 days; p < 0.001) compared to the other services. Conclusions. The HES contribute significantly to suspected cancer diagnosis, mainly advanced and metastatic tumours in the respiratory and digestive system, whose symptoms escape accidental diagnosis conducted in primary care, and they start abruptly.

Keywords : Emergency Service; Neoplasms; Diagnosis; Health Services Research; Cross-sectional studies.

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