Older people at higher risk for injury after cancer surgery

Nearly one in ten people over age 55 have some sort of health complication after cancer surgery.
By Stephen Feller  |  Feb. 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Older patients who have cancer surgery are more likely to be injured or have health issues than younger patients, according to recent study.

Post-surgery complications, falls, and bed sores are among health issues older patients encounter after cancer surgeries, which researchers say leads to higher costs and more deaths.

Researchers wrote in the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, that the potential for health issues after surgery should be addressed beforehand in order to reduce older patients' potential for injuries and morbidity.

"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 press 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."

Researchers analyzed data collected between 2009 and 2011 for the Nationwide Inpatient Sample on 939,150 cancer surgery patients, split into two groups: people between the ages of 55 and 64, and those 65 and older.

Overall, 9.2 percent of the entire group had a health event following surgery for cancer. Events were found most often for patients older than 75, the rates highest among people who had surgery for bladder, ovarian, colorectal, pancreatic and stomach cancers.

Patients who had a health event of some type also had higher rates for concurrent conditions, spent more time in the hospital, incurred higher costs, were discharged to a care facility or somewhere other than their home, and died more often before recovery.

"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."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories