Type of publication:
*Kaur P., *Cheetham M. , *McCloud J.
Colorectal Disease, July 2014, vol./is. 16/(73), 1462-8910 (July 2014)
Background: Current guidelines suggest that patients with a suspected colorectal cancer are seen within 2 weeks of the referral made by general practitioners. Recent data has shown an increase in referrals with a decrease in cancer yield, with up to 25% of all referrals made not meeting referral guidelines. This study aims to determine if there is a higher cancer detection rate in referrals compliant with the referral criteria. Method: A retrospective study of patients referred to a 2-week wait colorectal clinic over a 3-month period was performed. Referral proformas and initial clinic letters were assessed to determine compliancy with the 2 week wait criteria and number of cancers diagnosed. Results: 287 patients were seen in the 3 month period. 38% of referrals were not compliant with the referral criteria. The main reasons for noncompliance were age of the patient (28%) and duration of symptoms (21%). 15 (5.2%) patients were diagnosed with cancer. Compliant referrals had higher cancer detection rate, 13/180 patients (7.2%) when compared with non-compliant referrals, 2/107 patients (1.9%). Conclusion: Compliance with the referral criteria is associated with a higher cancer detection rate. Better education for general practitioners may help to reduce the number of non-compliant referrals reducing work load on strained colorectal units.