Tag Archives: surgery

Plants Ease Recovery from Surgery

Patients recovering from abdominal surgery benefited from having plants in their hospital rooms.  They had less pain, needed lower doses of pain medicine, and had lower heart rates and blood pressure.  As they got better, they spent time watering and tending the plants. In addition, patients with plants were less fatigued and anxious.   They were happier with their rooms, and 93 percent of them said that the plants were the best part of the room.  Patients without plants said that watching television was the most positive aspect of their hospital stay.

Surgery or RFA for Liver Mets?

Both surgery and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are used to destroy liver tumors that have spread from colorectal cancer, but which approach is better? Surgeons at the University of Louisville School of Medicine reviewed all the cases where patients received either surgery only or RFA only in their hospital over the past twelve years.  They had over 1,100 cases involving liver tumors during that time, and 192 involved either a single liver surgery or only radiofrequency ablation. They found the time before cancer came back was considerably shorter for RFA.  In addition, cancer returned at the RFA or surgical site more often for RFA, and also recurred more often elsewhere in

Aggressive Treatment Leads to Cures for Colon and Rectal Cancers

Colon and rectal cancer that is attached to critical body structures like the wall of the pelvis or important large veins has traditionally been considered not surgically treatable.  Patients have been offered palliative treatments designed to extend life or reduce symptoms, but the goal wasn’t cure. However, Mayo Clinic surgeons are now working together with teams of surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists to treat normally unresectable colon and rectal cancer with a combination of therapies.  Surgery, both external radiation and radiotherapy done during surgery, and chemotherapy have gone beyond palliative care for this group of patients.  Almost half of the patients treated with the multimodality approach were alive and cancer free

Surgery at NCI Centers Shows Better Survival

Patients who had surgery for colon or rectal cancer performed at a National Cancer Institute Designated Center had less risk of death immediately after surgery and better long-term survival. Looking at nearly 34,000 people who had surgery for colon cancer and 8,600 who had rectal cancer surgery, researchers found a 26 percent increase in long term survival when the operation was done in an NCI-designated cancer center. Having surgery in an NCI-designated center cut the risk of dying in the hospital or within 30 days after surgery in half for colon cancer patients.  Post surgery deaths were 6.7 percent in non-NCI centers and 3.2 percent in NCI-designated centers.  There was

Radiation Before Surgery Can Increase Bowel and Sexual Problems

Although giving radiation before rectal cancer surgery reduces the risk that cancer will return in the rectum and nearby tissues, it does so at a cost.  Quality-of-life studies that accompanied a trial of a short course of radiation therapy before surgery  found more sexual and bowel problems with presurgical radiation.

Improved Outcomes with Chemotherapy After Surgery to Remove Metastases

Patients who received chemotherapy after surgery to remove colorectal cancer that had spread to their liver or lungs had better long-term outcomes than those who only had surgery, according to an analysis that pooled two similar studies. Two different clinical trials studied chemotherapy after surgical removal of liver or lung metastases due to colorectal cancer.  While neither trial was large enough to draw clear conclusions on its own, researchers combined information from both to decide if chemo made a difference for patients.

Hospitals Not Testing Enough Lymph Nodes

Despite the fact that removing and testing at least 12 nearby lymph nodes during colorectal cancer surgery improves accurate staging and survival, most US hospitals are not reaching that goal. In a recent study of nearly 1,300 hospitals, only 38 percent tested at least 12 nodes in 75 percent of colorectal cancer surgeries performed in 2004 and 2005.

Stents Can Manage Colon Obstruction Effectively

Self-expanding metal stents can help patients with an obstruction from advanced colon cancer avoid surgery. When a large tumor blocks the left side of the colon, surgeons can remove the tumor or put in a stent to move bowel contents around the obstruction.  According to a recent study, patients live as long with either technique but spend less time in the hospital and have fewer complications with stents.

Several Studies Show Evidence that Chewing Gum Helps After Colon Surgery

Five randomized studies have shown that chewing gum after colon surgery reduces the time it takes for patients to pass gas and have a bowel movement. Patients in the studies chewed sugarless gum from 5 to 45 minutes, three times a day after surgery.  Control groups had similar surgeries but didn’t chew gum. There was a trend toward leaving the hospital sooner, but the studies were too small to definitely show fewer hospital days for the gum chewers. Still, the study authors wrote, The potential cost savings from the reduction of even one postoperative day compared with the cost of several sticks of chewing gum are huge. During intestinal surgery,