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The presenting symptom signatures of incident cancer: evidence from the English 2018 National Cancer Diagnosis Audit

Zakkak, N; Barclay, ME; Swann, R; McPhail, S; Rubin, G; Abel, GA; Lyratzopoulos, G; (2023) The presenting symptom signatures of incident cancer: evidence from the English 2018 National Cancer Diagnosis Audit. British Journal of Cancer 10.1038/s41416-023-02507-4. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Understanding relationships between presenting symptoms and subsequently diagnosed cancers can inform symptom awareness campaigns and investigation strategies. METHODS: We used English National Cancer Diagnosis Audit 2018 data for 55,122 newly diagnosed patients, and examined the relative frequency of presenting symptoms by cancer site, and of cancer sites by presenting symptom. RESULTS: Among 38 cancer sites (16 cancer groups), three classes were apparent: cancers with a dominant single presenting symptom (e.g. melanoma); cancers with diverse presenting symptoms (e.g. pancreatic); and cancers that are often asymptomatically detected (e.g. chronic lymphocytic leukaemia). Among 83 symptoms (13 symptom groups), two classes were apparent: symptoms chiefly relating to cancers of the same body system (e.g. certain respiratory symptoms mostly relating to respiratory cancers); and symptoms with a diverse cancer site case-mix (e.g. fatigue). The cancer site case-mix of certain symptoms varied by sex. CONCLUSION: We detailed associations between presenting symptoms and cancer sites in a large, representative population-based sample of cancer patients. The findings can guide choice of symptoms for inclusion in awareness campaigns, and diagnostic investigation strategies post-presentation when cancer is suspected. They can inform the updating of clinical practice recommendations for specialist referral encompassing a broader range of cancer sites per symptom.

Type: Article
Title: The presenting symptom signatures of incident cancer: evidence from the English 2018 National Cancer Diagnosis Audit
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41416-023-02507-4
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-023-02507-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Cancer, Cancer epidemiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10184231
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