Appraisal of emerging symptoms of colorectal cancer: associations with dispositional, demographic, and tumor characteristics
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The time it takes for individuals to realize that their emerging colorectal cancer (CRC) symptoms are serious is often an impediment to expeditious help-seeking. Tailored educational efforts to hasten symptom appraisal time would benefit from knowledge of the characteristics of individuals who tend to neglect their symptoms as well as the nature of symptoms that are most often neglected. In a sample of 112 CRC patients, we investigated associations between duration of symptom appraisal and: (1) trait anxiety, and (2) tumor location, which affects symptomatology. Symptom appraisal duration was associated with a sex-by-anxiety interaction (p = 0.007). The longest times (in weeks) were among high anxiety females (Mdn = 26.0) and low anxiety males (Mdn = 17.0), with shorter times among low anxiety females (Mdn = 9.0) and high anxiety males (Mdn = 2.0). Symptom appraisal times were also longer for patients with distal (vs. proximal) tumors (p = 0.036).
KeywordsColorectal cancer Symptom appraisal Trait anxiety Sex differences Common-sense model
This research was supported in part by National Institute of Health grant CA102177 and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation (SLR), and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program (SLP) and career development award from the National Center for Research Resources Washington University-ICTS (KL2 RR024994) (SLP). The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the Biostatistics Core, Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center and NCI Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA091842.
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