Age an Important Factor in Colon Surgery Complications, Study Finds

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A new study found elderly patients 65 years and older are more likely to experience death and serious complications after colon surgery than younger patients.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and found that out of one million patients who underwent colon surgery between 2001-2010, patients 85 and older were 70 percent more likely to require emergency hospital care after their surgery than those under 65.

The mortality and complication rates were also higher for the 65+ population.

Experts were not surprised by these findings, as the elderly population typically has more post-operation complications than younger patient groups with any surgery.

However, there was a positive finding as well: over the 10-year study, the number of these colon surgeries performed per year fell 5 percent in the general population and 7 percent among elderly people. Colon cancer death rates in all age groups also decreased.

Dr. Alex Jenny Ky, colorectal surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said that this decrease can be attributed to increased screening rates. "[Fewer] surgeries are performed for cancer across the board because we are better about screening," she said. "For example, polyps are now removed before they become cancerous. The bottom line is it is crucial to get screened, and if cancer is detected, to have surgery."

Other Colon Cancer News From Around the Web

  • A new study by the American Cancer Society showed obesity may compromise colon cancer survival.
  • AARP shared an infographic highlighting the drop in colon cancer incidence rates due in part to increased screening.
  • Researchers examined the effects of coffee consumption on colon cancer risk, finding that 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day may decrease risk.
  • Dr. Paul A. Marks, MD offers a keen insight on the importance of cancer screening in modern medicine.
  • More buzz around the sharp decline in colon cancer rates! This article calls it "one of the great public health success stories of the decade."

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Topics: Colon Cancer Research, Colon Cancer News