Newer Colon Cancer Surgery Shows Benefits
“These advantages can be particularly important to the elderly.” In the new study, a Canadian team of researchers reviewed data on more than 9,400 patients over the age of 70 who had colon cancer surgery in the United States between 2009 and 2010. Of those patients, more than 5,700 had open surgeries, while about 3,700 had less-invasive laparoscopic procedures. Patients who had open surgery were much more likely than those who had laparoscopic surgery to be sent to a nursing home after leaving the hospital, the team found, at 20 percent versus 12.5 percent, respectively. The study is scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in Washington, D.C. Findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. “There is evidence that laparoscopic surgical treatment for colon cancer is similar to an open operation in terms of outcomes from a cancer treatment point of view,” study author Dr. Richard Liu, a general surgery resident at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said in a college news release. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, three-year survival and cancer recurrence rates are comparable for patients who have laparoscopic or open surgery for any stage of colon cancer. Age also affected the risk of ending up in a nursing home after colon cancer surgery. The lowest risk was for those aged 70 to 75, while the risk was four times higher among those aged 80 to 85 and eight times higher among those over 85, the researchers said. Liu’s team also found that patients who had other diseases — such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease — were more likely to require nursing home care after leaving the hospital. For colon cancer patients in their early 70s who do not have advanced cancer or other major health problems, laparoscopic surgery may help prolong their lives and also preserve their quality of life, the researchers concluded. Wishner agreed.
Those who had laparoscopic surgery stayed in the hospital for five days, three days less than patients who had the standard operation. But other surgeons noted that patients undergoing the standard operation in American hospitals now tended to stay about six days. Of 111 patients who underwent laparoscopic colon surgery, 12 developed complications, compared with 31 in the group of 108 who had the standard operation. ”If these results were confirmed by ongoing multicenter randomized trials, laparoscopy would become the standard surgical approach to patients with colon cancer,” Dr. Lacy said. A number of studies involving thousands of patients in this country and elsewhere are in progress. Dr. Alfred M. Cohen, a colon cancer specialist who also directs the Lucille P. Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, said in an interview that the Spanish study was ”well done.” Many doctors who do the procedure are enthusiastic about it. ”This study will generate a flurry of activity because even the evangelical groups in this country now are downplaying the benefits of laparoscopic colon surgery,” Dr.