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Cancer-Surgery Complications Rise While Death Risk Drops

Wed, 08/21/2013 - 10:38am

The number of complications experienced by U.S. patients after major cancer surgery is rising, but fewer are dying from their operations, a new study reveals.

Researchers analyzed data from 2.5 million patients older than 18 who had major cancer surgery between 1999 and 2009. Procedures included partial or complete removal of a cancerous colon, bladder, esophagus, stomach, uterus, lung, pancreas, or prostate.

The study found "marked and worrisome increases" in certain types of complications after surgery.

"Our report shows that while the incidence of preventable adverse events after major cancer surgery -- blood clots, infections, respiratory failure and pressure ulcers -- is increasing, the overall mortality of patients undergoing these procedures is decreasing in the U.S.," study co-author Dr. Jesse Sammon, a urologist at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a hospital news release.

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