Tag Archives: surgery

Sexual Issues for Cancer Survivors

With 12 million people in the U.S. living with and beyond cancer, health and psychosocial issues facing survivors are finally becoming active topics of research and discussion. The Oct. 20th Journal of Clinical Oncology  is a special “survivorship” issue featuring an array of special articles primarily focusing on the health issues such as bone health, symptoms like  chemobrain, lifestyle factors such as physical activity to help prevent recurrence. Articles also focus on fertility preservation, and sexuality issues in cancer survivors. “It has become clear that sexual function is often profoundly disrupted by cancer treatment,” wrote the authors of a review article “Sexuality in Adult Cancer Survivors.” 

Participants Needed for Rectal Cancer Surgery Trial

Approximately 80 more participants are needed for a multisite, Phase 3 clinical trial comparing laparoscopic-assisted versus conventional surgery in patients with stage IIA, Stage IIIA or stage IIIB rectal cancer.  Eligible participants must have completed their pre-surgery chemotherapy (Xelox™ or fluorouracil-based) and/or pre-surgery radiation therapy within the previous 4 weeks.

Patients with metastatic CRC may not need removal of asymptomatic colon tumor

Despite better screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), about 1 in 5 newly diagnosed patients will have metastatic CRC that already has spread to distant organs.  Many will have symptoms of fatigue or weight loss, but only a minority will have symptoms (significant bleeding or abdominal pain, or a blocked bowel) caused by the colon tumor itself. In those people first diagnosed with stage IV CRC, about 80% have metastases that cannot be removed by surgery. There’s been intense debate—but no clear evidence—about whether patients whose colon tumor isn’t causing symptoms should have the colon tumor surgically removed routinely before they start chemotherapy.  A recent important study provides the first evidence

Having Surgery? Check Out These Tips from the CDC

A surgical site infection is one that happens in the part of the body where an operation has taken place. Nearly one in five hospital infections happens at the surgical site according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC has tips that can help you and your health care team prevent surgical site infections.  They will tell you what you can do before and after your operation to reduce the risk that you’ll get an infection.

Choosing the Best Colon Surgery for Lynch Syndrome

Removing the entire colon (subtotal colectomy) is sometimes recommended for patients with Lynch syndrome when colon cancer is diagnosed.  In addition, some people who have an inherited Lynch mutation have their colons removed to prevent colon cancer. While subtotal colectomy didn’t reduce deaths from Lynch-related colon cancer, it did cut down on additional colorectal cancer diagnoses and the need for other abdominal surgery.

Primary Colorectal Tumors Can Be Safely Left in Place

When cancer has spread beyond the colon or rectum, the primary colorectal tumor can safely be left in place with only rare complications. Surgeons at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York followed 233 patients who began chemotherapy without surgery to remove their primary colon or rectal tumor. Almost 90 percent never had a problem with their tumor that needed intervention with surgery, radiation, or a stent. Only 7 percent required emergency surgery.

Intense Combination Chemotherapy Enables Surgery for Initially Unresectable Colorectal Mets

Treated with a combination of three chemotherapy drugs, 1 in 5 patients whose colorectal cancer had spread too far for surgery were able to have operations to remove metastatic tumors.  After five years, a third of them were alive with no sign of cancer. Doctors in Italy treated 200 stage IV patients with a combination of 5-FU, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan (FOLFOXIRI) during three different clinical trials.  While all three drugs are commonly used to treat colorectal cancer, they are not usually used at the same time.  Initially, all of the patients had cancer that had spread beyond the possibility of having it removed surgically.

Survival of Medicare Patients after Surgery for Liver Mets

While some surgical studies are now reporting five-year survival after surgery to remove colorectal cancer tumors that have spread to the liver of 40 to 60 percent, a review of more general national experience for patients enrolled in Medicare  in the United States found lower survival rates. Among Medicare-enrolled colorectal cancer patients 65 and over who had liver resection, only 26 percent (1 in 4) were alive five years later.

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