Study: More complications, but higher survival rate, after cancer surgery

Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) scanners, are used to produce images of patients with cancer, brain injuries, as well as joint, bone and soft tissue injuries. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

MONTREAL – There are more complications among cancer patients who undergo surgery but fewer deaths, indicates a study published in the online scientific journal “British Medical Journal Open.”

Complications include blood clots, pressure sores, infections and respiratory problems.

Three researchers from l’Universite de Montreal contributed to the international project, which looked at 2.5 million patients aged over 18 who underwent oncological surgery in the U.S. between 1999 and 2009.

The surgery included complete or partial removal of the intestine, bladder, esophagus, stomach, uterus, lung, pancreas or prostate.

Researchers found an “alarming” increase in complications after surgery but patients were more likely to survive because doctors have learned to recognize and treat the problems quickly.

Researchers said efforts must now be increased to prevent the complications.


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