Age, family history, symptoms and signs are all used to assess the risk a patient has of colorectal cancer and whether urgent investigation is required or whether watchful waiting is appropriate.
The CAPER Scoring Tool is being used to aid grading of referrals for colorectal cancer and prioritise diagnostic testing.
The Caper score (Video explanation) is a validated tool used to assess combinations of low risk symptoms.
High risk symptoms like abdominal mass and PR bleeding will always receive a priority grading but most patients with colorectal cancer do not initally present with these symptoms but rather a combination of low risk symptoms and currently these patients are not being prioritised for investigation.
The Caper score allows these patients to be identified and given the appropriate grading to allow them priority access to diagnostic testing. This should aid early diagnosis of disease and as a result improve prognosis.
Some patients who score a very low risk (white) on the the CAPER tool, for example a single presentation with either constipation or diarrhoea are considered suitable for management in Primary Care in the first instance.
The CAPER scoring factors are embedded in the colorectal cancer eReferral and GPs are strongly encouraged to use this form.
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