Incidental Cancer Diagnoses in Trauma Patients: A Case–Control Study Evaluating Long-Term Outcomes

Nathaniel Bell, Amanda Arrington, Swann Arp Adams, Mark Jones, Joseph V. Sakran, Ambar Mehta, Jan M. Eberth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: This study evaluates whether trauma patients who incidentally learned about a malignancy have similar long-term outcomes as patients who organically learned about their malignancy. Materials and methods: Incidental findings (IF)patients were matched to noninjured cancer controls on age group, sex, cancer site, stage, and year of diagnosis. Unadjusted covariates included race, insurance type, rural residence, and time from diagnosis to first cancer intervention. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to measure adjusted all-cause and cancer-specific mortality risk. Results: Adjusted long-term mortality risk among IF cases was 1.42 (95% confidence interval [1.11-1.81])compared with noninjured cancer controls. There was no statistically significant difference in all-cause mortality among IF cases who survived at least 30 d (1.24 [0.88-1.74]). IF cases had no increased risk of cancer-related mortality compared with controls (1.26 [0.96-1.64]). Conclusions: Long-term mortality risks among trauma patients with incidental cancer diagnoses are no different than the cancer population as a whole among patients who survive at least 30 d after injury. IF trauma patients are not more susceptible to cancer-related causes of death as a result of a physiological stress response due to injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Incidental findings
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Trauma
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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