Involvement of personal and professional relations when experiencing colorectal cancer symptoms: a cross sectional study

Sanne Rasmussen*, Kirubakaran Balasubramaniam, Lisbet Gonge Due, Dorte Ejg Jarbøl, Peter Haastrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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OBJECTIVE: As part of improving early diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC), knowledge about involvement of personal and professional relations, when experiencing CRC symptoms, is important. This study aimed to analyse involvement of personal and professional relations and whether age, sex, number of symptoms and available social network are associated with involving family, non-family and professional relations amongst individuals experiencing CRC symptoms.

METHODS: Some, 100 000 Danes over 20 years were randomly selected and invited to a cross sectional survey comprising questions about involvement of relations regarding four predefined CRC symptoms (abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and change in stool texture and frequency).

RESULTS: In total, 35 801 respondents over 40 years answered all relevant items and 9346 (26.1%) had experienced at least one CRC symptom in the preceding 4 weeks. Abdominal pain was more often than stool-related symptoms discussed with relations. Respondents with >1 symptom had higher odds of reporting general practitioner (GP) contact compared to respondents with single symptoms. Age ≥60 years was associated with higher odds of GP contact and involving family relations. Spouse/partner was the most frequently involved relation. Involving a personal relation increased the odds of GP contact. Having an available social network decreased GP contact for some symptoms.

CONCLUSION: Odds of involving professional relations, e.g. the GP, were higher amongst individuals experiencing multiple CRC symptoms and those involving personal relations. Having an available social network was associated with lower odds of GP contact, suggesting that individuals with no available social network are more prone to use their GP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1058-1065
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • alarm symptoms
  • general practice
  • help-seeking behaviour
  • signs and symptoms
  • social support
  • Abdominal Pain/etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Denmark
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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