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Table 4 Distribution of referrals, cancer probability, crude PRR and adjusted PRR according to referral characteristics, primary care interval, GP’s suspicion of cancer and GP’s gut feeling

From: The Danish cancer pathway for patients with serious non-specific symptoms and signs of cancer–a cross-sectional study of patient characteristics and cancer probability

   Referrals (%) Probability of cancer (%) Crude PRR for cancer (95% CI) Adjusted PRR for cancer (95% CI)a
All   1278 (100%) 207 (16.2%)   
Hospital Silkeborg 705 (55.2%) 101 (14.3%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
  Aarhus 573 (44.8%) 106 (18.5%) 1.29 (1.01–1.66) 1.22 (0.95–1.56)
Referral to further examination at diagnostic centre Silkeborg Yes 415 (59.0%) 49 (11.8%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
  No 289 (41.0%) 52 (18.0%) 1.64 (1.05-2.50) 1.62 (1.05-2.50)
Aarhus Yes 75 (18.8%) 12 (16.0%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
  No 325 (81.2%) 63 (19.4%) 1.26 (0.64-2.48) 1.22 (0.62-2.41)
Sex Female 671 (52.5%) 95 (14.2%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
  Male 607 (47.5%) 112 (18.5%) 1.30 (1.02-1.67) 1.32 (1.03-1.70)
Age group 18-39 years 70 (5.5%) 3 (4.3%) 0.96 (0.26-3.51) 0.95 (0.26-3.49)
  40-54 years 179 (14.0%) 8 (4.5%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
  55-69 years 441 (34.5%) 80 (18.1%) 4.06 (2.00-8.22) 4.01 (1.98-8.12)
  70-79 years 345 (27.0%) 73 (21.2%) 4.73 (2.33-9.60) 4.76 (2.35-9.64)
  ≥ 80 years 243 (19.0%) 43 (17.7%) 3.96 (1.91-8.21) 3.31 (1.90-8.15)
Patients with previous cancer No 1134 (88.7%) 186 (16.4%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
Yes 144 (11.3%) 21 (14.6%) 0.89 (0.59-1.35) 0.80 (0.52-2.20)
Symptoms at referral 0 23 (1.8%) 6 (26.1%) 1.96 (0.92-4.15) 1.88 (0.89-3.95)
(n=1254) 1 240 (19.0%) 32 (13.3%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
  2 276 (21.9%) 31 (11.2%) 0.84 (0.53-1.34) 0.82 (0.52-1.29)
  3 278 (22.0%) 47 (16.9%) 1.27 (0.84-1.92) 1.26 (0.84-1.91)
  4 206 (16.3%) 38 (18.5%) 1.38 (0.90-2.13) 1.38 (0.90-2.12)
  5 118 (9.3%) 27 (22.9%) 1.72 (1.08-2.72) 1.68 (1.06-2.65)
  ≥6 122 (9.7%) 28 (18.9%) 1.41 (0.87-2.30) 1.35 (0.83-2.18)
Clinical findings at referral 0 147 (3.3%) 9 (6.1%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
1 580 (52.4%) 80 (13.8%) 2.25 (1.16-4.82) 1.98 (1.02-3.84)
(n=1100) 2 297 (26.9%) 67 (22.6%) 3.68 (1.89-7.18) 3.04 (1.56-5.92)
  ≥3 82 (7.4%) 19 (23.2%) 3.78 (1.80-7.98) 3.25 (1.55-6.81)
Diagnostic test results at referral 0 187 (17.1%) 13 (7.0%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
1 565 (51.7%) 98 (17.4%) 2.50 (1.34-4.34) 2.16 (1.24-3.77)
(n=1086) 2 267 (24.4%) 41 (16.4%) 2.21 (1.22-4.01) 1.95 (1.07-3.53)
  ≥3 75 (6.9%) 13 (17.3%) 2.49 (1.21-5.13) 2.28 (1.11-4.66)
Number of chronic diseases at referral 0 295 (24.5%) 50 (17.0%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
1 403 (33.5%) 62 (15.4%) 0.91 (0.65-1-28) 0.73 (0.52-1.02)
(n=1199) 2 286 (23.5%) 48 (16.8%) 0.99 (0.69-1.42) 0.71 (0.49-1.02)
  ≥3 220 (18.2%) 34 (15.5%) 0.91 (0.61-1.36) 0.63 (0.42-0.95)
Primary care intervalb <1 month 723 (56.6%) 117 (16.2%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
(n=1131) 1-2 months 156 (12.2%) 20 (12.8%) 0.79 (0.51-1.23) 0.81 (0.52-1.26)
  2-3 months 79 (6.2%) 16 (20.3%) 1.25 (0.78-2.00) 1.31 (0.82-2.07)
  3-4 months 52 (4.1%) 12 (23.1%) 1.43 (0.85-2.41) 1.42 (0.85-2.39)
  4-5 months 29 (2.3%) 6 (20.7%) 1.28 (0.62-2.66) 1.36 (0.67-2.76)
  5-6 months 17 (1.3%) 3 (17.7%) 1.10 (0.39-3.09) 1.26 (0.47-3.39)
  >6 months 222 (17.3%) 33 (14.9%) 0.92 (0.64-1.31) 0.90 (0.64-1.29)
GP’s estimation of patient’s risk of cancer at referral 0-20% 448 (36.8%) 36 (8.0%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
21-40% 195 (16.0%) 24 (12.3%) 1.53 (0.94-2.50) 1.43 (0.88-2.33)
41-60% 314 (25.8%) 47 (15.0%) 1.86 (1.24-2.81) 1.69 (1.12-2.56)
(n=1208) 61-80% 155 (12.6%) 41 (26.5%) 3.29 (2.19-4.95) 2.96 (1.96-4.48)
  81-100% 104 (8.6%) 52 (50.0%) 6.22 (4.31-8.99) 5.30 (3.62-7.76)
Did gut feeling influence the decision of referral? No 287 (24.6%) 46 (16.0%) 1 (ref) 1 (ref)
A little 224 (19.2%) 25 (11.2%) 0.66 (0.39-1.11) 0.65 (0.38-1.10)
Some 425 (36.4%) 63 (14.8%) 0.91 (0.60-1.38) 0.86 (0.56-1.31)
(n=1168) Much 182 (15.6%) 43 (23.6%) 1.62 (1.02-2.58) 1.55 (0.97-2.48)
  Very much 50 (4.3%) 17 (34.0%) 2.70 (1.39-5.25) 2.57 (1.31-5.05)
  1. aAdjusted for age and gender
  2. GP: General Practitioner
  3. bMedians are used to categorise the groups
  4. PRR: Prevalence Rate Ratio