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Cancer surgery patients have more complications, but less likely to die
Date:8/19/2013

DETROIT While more patients in the U.S. are suffering from complications such as blood clots and infections after major cancer surgery, fewer are dying from their operations.

The finding, part of a first-of-its-kind study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital and others in the U.S., Canada and Germany, could lead to recommended changes in national health care policy and a reallocation of resources.

The study was published online in British Medical Journal Open. Jesse Sammon, D.O., Henry Ford Hospital urologist, research fellow and co-author of the paper, says the seemingly contradictory finding can be explained by improved response to patient crises, but a need for better prevention of post-surgical complications.

"Our report shows that while the incidence of preventable adverse events after major cancer surgery blood clots, infections, respiratory failure and pressure ulcers is increasing, the overall mortality of patients undergoing these procedures is decreasing in the U. S.," says Dr. Sammon.

"This paradox is explained in our report by the fact that physicians are probably getting increasingly better at identifying these adverse events early and managing them more effectively, thereby leading to lower mortality rates from adverse events and, by extension, lower overall mortality rates in the entire population of patients undergoing these procedures."

That's the good news. The bad news is that more needs to be done to prevent these complications.

"Just because physicians have become increasingly effective at managing these adverse events once they occur does not obviate the fact that there's still a lot of room for improvement in reducing the actual occurrence of these adverse events in the first place," Dr. Sammon says.

The study the largest ever to assess the quality of oncological surgical care in a nationwide sample focused on 2.5 million surgery patients over the age of 18 who underwent a major cancer procedu
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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-850-3471
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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