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Study Challenges Colon Cancer Surgery Follow-Up
Date:11/13/2007

ings we know will help. For example, we know that many patients with stage 3 colon cancer don't get chemotherapy." Stage 3 cancer has spread to the lymph nodes but not beyond them.

"There is a lot of work to be done in terms of getting treatment we know helps patients, to patients," Baxter said.

But the relationship between the number of nodes examined and patient survival should continue to be explored, Baxter said. "There may be some underlying biological factor we could use," she added.

Another expert also said more research needs to be done.

"In many ways, this study confirms a lot of prior findings about lymph nodes and survival," said Dr George Chang, assistant professor of surgical oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "But it highlights the complexity of that relationship."

Even in the quarter of hospitals in which the largest number of lymph nodes were examined, "only 61 percent of patients had 12 looked at," Chang said. "Perhaps examination of a considerably larger number is required to predict survival."

More information

There's more on colon cancer at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Sandra L. Wong, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Nancy N. Baxter, M.D., assistant professor, surgery, University of Toronto, Canada; George Chang, M.D., assistant professor of surgical oncology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Nov. 14, 2007, Journal of the American Medical Association


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