Skip to main content

Table 3 The prevalence of symptoms in referrals under the 2-week rule for suspected CNS cancer

From: Urgent referral for suspected CNS cancer: which clinical features are associated with a positive predictive value of 3 % or more?

Presenting symptom All referrals (n = 383) No CNS cancer (n = 371) CNS cancer (n = 12) p
Symptoms related to the CNS 243 (63.4) 233 (62.8) 10 (83.3) 0.224
 Progressive neurological deficit 30 (7.8) 27 (7.3) 3 (25.0)  
 New-onset seizures 41 (10.7) 39 (10.5) 2 (16.7)  
 Headaches 173 (45.2) 168 (45.3) 5 (41.7)  
 Mental changes 21 (5.5) 19 (5.1) 2 (16.7)  
 Cranial nerve palsy 19 (5.0) 18 (4.9) 1 (8.3)  
 Unilateral sensorineural deafness 10 (2.6) 10 (2.7) 0 (0.0)  
Headaches of recent onset accompanied by features suggestive of raised intracranial pressure 167 (43.6) 165 (44.5) 2 (16.7) 0.075
 Vomiting 28 (7.3) 28 (7.5) 0 (0.0)  
 Drowsiness 23 (6.0) 23 (6.2) 0 (0.0)  
 Posture-related headache 68 (17.8) 67 (18.1) 1 (8.3)  
 Pulse-synchronous tinnitus 3 (0.8) 3 (0.8) 0 (0.0)  
 Other focal/non-focal neurological problems 71 (18.5) 70 (18.9) 1 (8.3)  
 New, qualitatively different, unexplained headache that becomes progressively severe 43 (11.2) 43 (11.6) 0 (0.0)  
Consider urgent referral - rapidly progressive subacute focal deficit/cognitive/behavioural or personality change 27 (7.0) 26 (7.0) 1 (8.3) 0.590
 Subacute focal neurological deficit 7 (1.8) 6 (1.6) 1 (8.3)  
 Unexplained cognitive impairment/behavioural disturbance or slowness, or a combination of these 17 (4.4) 17 (4.6) 0 (0.0)  
 Personality changes 9 (2.3) 9 (2.4) 0 (0.0)  
  1. p-value derived from Fisher’s Exact Test comparing presence of symptom groups between patients with and without confirmed CNS cancer