Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers all over the world with previous reports suggesting increasing incidence in developing countries due to lack of organized screening programme. Timely and efficient referral leading to early diagnosis of colorectal cancer may contribute to improved survival.
This study was initiated to determine the diagnostic value of rectal bleeding in predicting colorectal cancer in Nigeria. We presented the preliminary analysis of the data.
This is a prospective study of patients’ ages 45 years and above presenting with rectal bleeding at 5 primary health care facilities that were referred for colonoscopy at the Endoscopy unit of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Ile-Ife. Data obtained included the socioeconomic, clinical, anthropometric, colonoscopy and histopathological parameters.
In this interim analysis, 56 patients were recruited into the study. Thirty –three (59%) patients were males. The median age was 58 years (range 45-89 years). Median duration of rectal bleeding was 6 months (0.25 -360 months). Forty six (86%) patients had seen a doctor before the procedure. Changes in bowel habit and weight loss was found in 22 (39%) and 24 (43%) patients respectively. Colorectal cancer was found in 12(21%) and polyps in 9(16%) of the patients. Hemorrhoids and diverticulosis were found in 63% and 34% respectively. We then correlate the clinical and anthropometric data of cancer patients and non-cancer patient to assess the predictive value.
Given the high specificity of rectal bleeding in predicting the possibility of occurrence of colorectal cancer and polyps, this symptom may be used to select patients needing screening in poor resource setting.