Older Cancer Surgery Patients At Increased Risk Of Injury

First Posted: Feb 18, 2016 09:24 PM EST

New findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveal that older patients who have undergone cancer surgery are at a higher risk of injuries or other health issues.

Researchers at the University of Southern California found that issues included post-surgery complications, falls and bed sores, which could also result in higher drug costs and deaths.

"Even now, these events affect approximately one in 10 patients over the age of 54 undergoing cancer surgery in the United States," Dr. Hung-Jul Tan, a researcher in urologic oncology at the University of Southern California, said in a news release. "With even higher rates observed among the very old, patients 75 and older -- the fastest-growing segment of the population -- geriatric events during cancer-related surgery are likely to become even more prevalent."

The information was based on data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample collected between 2009 and 2011 on almost 100,000 cancer surgery patients. Those included in the sample were split into two groups: those between the ages of 55 and 64 and those 65 and older.

About 9.2 percent of the entire group had a health event following surgery for cancer. Events occurred more often among patients older than 75 and who had surgery for the following types of cancer: bladder, colorectal, ovarian, pancreatic and stomach cancers. 

"The findings highlight the importance for older patients to discuss these potential events with their doctors as they prepare for surgery," Tan said. "Now that the prevalence of such events is known, treatment approaches that keep these age-related health concerns in mind may be better applied in the future to better assist these patients."

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