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J R Soc Med. 1984 January; 77(1): 22–25.
PMCID: PMC1439532

Cause of death and accuracy of certification of colorectal cancer.


Of 160 patients who died of colorectal cancer in the Exeter district in 1979 and 1980, 15 had not been correctly certified as such and of these 10 had died postoperatively. A further 2 had not died of colorectal cancer and in 9 the diagnosis was unsubstantiated. When those not proven to have cancer are considered, colorectal cancer as a cause of death was underestimated by about 5%, which is much more accurate than for other diseases. A total of 35 patients (21.8%) had no operative treatment due to advanced disease, old age or rapid death. The mean inpatient stay was 32.3 days, and 184 operations were performed on 125 patients. Only 20 patients were admitted to the district hospital for terminal care.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Britton M. Diagnostic errors discovered at autopsy. Acta Med Scand. 1974 Sep;196(3):203–210. [PubMed]
  • Cameron HM, McGoogan E. A prospective study of 1152 hospital autopsies: I. Inaccuracies in death certification. J Pathol. 1981 Apr;133(4):273–283. [PubMed]
  • Gilbert Jonathan M. Harrison Richard. Current concepts of colorectal carcinoma. J R Soc Med. 1982 Nov;75(11):910–913. [PMC free article]
  • Nwene U, Smith A. Assessing completeness of cancer registration in the north-western region of England by a method of independent comparison. Br J Cancer. 1982 Oct;46(4):635–639. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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