Surgeons More Selective With Surgeries in Late-Stage Cancer Patients

A study published in the Journal of Surgical Research has found that surgeons are focusing on life-enhancing procedures for late-stage cancer patients. In their follow-up on 22,000 late-stage cancer patients in the United States between 2006 and 2010, while the use of surgeries declined only slightly, doctors became more likely to restrict surgery to healthier patients.

While surgery rates for patients with late-stage, terminal cancers have stayed about the same in recent years, complications and deaths for these patients have fallen because surgeons are more selective about who has surgery, a new study finds.

"Surgeons are becoming wiser," study author Dr Sarah Bateni, a surgery resident at the University of California, Davis, said in a university news release. "Our research suggests that surgeons may be operating on healthier patients who are more likely to recover well from an operation," she said. "These are patients who can perform activities of daily living without assistance, for example." As

Bateni explained, there are a number of reasons why surgeons might operate on late-stage cancer patients. "Some of it has to do with the patients and families," she said. "If the patient is uncomfortable, the family wants a solution. In some cases, the surgeon also may be too optimistic about what the surgical outcome will be."

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