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Safer kidney cancer surgery under-used for poorer, sicker Medicare, Medicaid patients
Date:5/15/2012

DETROIT An increasingly common and safer type of surgery for kidney cancer is not as likely to be used for older, sicker and poorer patients who are uninsured or rely on Medicare or Medicaid for their health care, according to a new study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

The treatment, partial nephrectomy (PN), involves surgically removing only the diseased portion of a cancerous kidney, leaving the unaffected part to continue to function.

Standard treatment for small kidney tumors has traditionally been radical nephrectomy (RN) surgical removal of the entire kidney, part of the ureter, the adrenal gland, and some surrounding tissue.

The less-extreme PN became possible with improvements in 3D scanning technology, and not only offers obvious advantages over RN, but earlier studies have found that it results in an overall drop in related cardiovascular complications and death.

The results will be presented this week at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

The Henry Ford study looked at 375,986 kidney cancer patients from throughout the U.S. who underwent either PN or RN from 1998 to 2009. Of those, 63,670 were PN patients.

During the study period, researchers found that the rate PR grew nearly five times, from 6 percent of patients to 28 percent, says Quoc-Dien Trinh, M.D., a Fellow at Henry Ford Hospital's Vattikuti Urology Institute and lead author of the study.

Most kidney cancer patients today can be treated with this kidney-saving technique, which reduces the chance of long-term kidney failure. Another advantage is that if something happens to the patient's other kidney, there is still one in reserve.

But the Henry Ford study also found that while PN is becoming more common, it is not being used to treat certain patients for other than medical reasons. The researchers learned that rates of PN dropped in patients who:

  • Are older and have add
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Contact: Krista Hopson
khopson1@hfhs.org
313-874-7207
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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