Impact of travel time and rurality on presentation and outcomes of colorectal cancer: a cross-sectional cohort study in primary care

There are differences in cancer survival between rural and urban populations in many countries, including Australia. The reasons and mechanisms behind these differences are not well defined. This study from Scotland has investigated the association between living rurally and travel time on diagnosis and survival in colorectal cancer patients. Using GP and Scottish Cancer registry data on nearly 1000 patients they reviewed their primary outcomes of alarm symptoms, emergency admissions, stage and survival. Unexpectedly, rural patients and patients travelling farther to the GP had a better 3-year survival. Longer travel in urban areas significantly reduced the odds of an emergency admission. The presence of alarm symtpoms reduced the likelihood of emergency admissions. Overall, living in a rural area and travelling further to a GP in urban areas may reduce the likelihood of emergency admissions and poor survival. Improved survival in rural patients has also been seen in the USA. This research provides an interesting insight into the impact of rurality on cancer outcomes.   Read the full article here.
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