Complications from cancer surgery could be more frequent in older patients.
Elderly patients hospitalized for cancer surgery are more likely to have complications afterward compared to the middle-aged, particularly when they have several other health problems, a U.S. study suggests.
Overall, almost one in 10 adults age 55 and older had at least one post-operative issue like delirium, dehydration, falls, fractures, pressure ulcers or unusual weight loss, the study of nearly 1 million cancer surgery patients found.
These setbacks were even more common when patients were at least 65 years old, had two or more other serious health problems in addition to malignancies, or had surgeries for tumors of the digestive system or nearby organs.
But the odds were worst for people over 75 – about 46 percent of them had at least one complication, compared with 22 percent of adults aged 55 to 64.
“With the population aging, it’s becoming increasingly important to consider not only the survival benefits of cancer surgery but the impact on functionality, vitality and quality of life,” said lead study author Dr. Hung-Jui Tan, a researcher in urologic oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“While the events studied here are specific to the initial hospitalization, they can carry potential long-term ramifications,” Tan added by email.
To see how age influences the risk of post-operative complications, Tan and colleagues reviewed hospital admission records for a nationwide sample of 940,000 adults age 55 and older who had cancer surgery from 2009 to 2011.
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