To provide a quantitative description of the treatments applied to malignant colorectal cancer across Europe, we analysed all cases (11 333) of colorectal cancer registered in 1987 by 15 Cancer Registries in eight European countries. In a third of cancer registries, therapy was known for all cases, in the others 1-15% of registrations lacked treatment information. Eighty per cent of all patients received surgical resection, ranging from 58% (Estonia) to 92% (Tarn). The proportion of resections decreased with advancing age (85-73% for colon cancer; 85-70% for rectal cancer for <65 years to >74 years, respectively). Only 4% of colon cancer patients received adjuvant or palliative chemotherapy, range 1-12%. Sixteen per cent of rectal cancer patients received radiotherapy with great inter-registry variability (1-43%). Since the proportion of surgically resected patients correlated positively with the 5-year relative survival probability reported by the recently published EUROCARE study, this may be part of the explanation for the major differences in survival for these cancers among different European populations. The most likely determinant of this correlation is stage at diagnosis, but, quality of, and access to surgery, as well as access to endoscopy, may differ among countries and registry areas, and these may also contribute to inter-country survival differences. Copyright

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European Journal of Cancer
Department of Medical Oncology

Gatta, G, Sant, M, Coebergh, J.W.W, & Hakulinen, T. (1996). Substantial variation in therapy for colorectal cancer across Europe: EUROCARE analysis of cancer registry data for 1987. European Journal of Cancer, 32(5), 831–835. doi:10.1016/0959-8049(95)00642-7