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BACKGROUND: Individuals with rectal cancer require a number of pretreatment investigations, often require multidisciplinary treatment, and require ongoing follow-ups after treatment is completed. Due to the complexity of treatments, large variations in practice patterns and outcomes have been identified. At present, few comprehensive, population-level data sets are available for assessing interventions and outcomes in this group. OBJECTIVE: Our study aims to create a comprehensive database of individuals with rectal cancer who have been treated in a single-payer, universal health care system. This database will provide an excellent resource that investigators can use to study variations in the delivery of care to and real-world outcomes of this population. METHODS: The Ontario Rectal Cancer Cohort database will include comprehensive details about the management and outcomes of individuals with rectal cancer who have been diagnosed in Ontario, Canada (population: 14.6 million), between 2010 and 2019. Linked administrative data sets will be used to construct this comprehensive database. Individual and care provider characteristics, investigations, treatments, follow-ups, and outcomes will be derived and linked. Surgical pathology details, including the stage of disease, histopathology characteristics, and the quality of surgical excision, will be included. Ethics approval for this study was obtained through the Queen's University Health Sciences and Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Ethics Board. RESULTS: Approximately 20,000 individuals who meet the inclusion criteria for this study have been identified. Data analysis is ongoing, with an expected completion date of March 2023. This study was funded through the Canadian Institute of Health Research Operating Grant. CONCLUSIONS: The Ontario Rectal Cancer Cohort will include a comprehensive data set of individuals with rectal cancer who received care within a single-payer, universal health care system. This cohort will be used to determine factors associated with regional variability and adherence to recommended care, and it will allow for an assessment of a number of understudied areas within the delivery of rectal cancer treatment. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR1-10.2196/38874.

Original publication




Journal article


JMIR Res Protoc

Publication Date





adherence to care, rectal cancer, regional variability, survival