Cancer is generally not a nice thing. Quite the opposite, it tends to be one of the most horrific experiences one can go through. One of the trademark characteristics is that cancer patients become weaker as the disease and even the treatments progress, usually leaving them as a shell of who they once were. Certain groups of people are affected even worse, as a team of researchers determined that cancer surgery is linked to complication risk in the elderly.
Cancer and the elderly
The study unsurprisingly determined that senior citizens who go through cancer surgery have a much higher chance of complication and ulterior injuries than younger citizens. When talking about complications, the study refers to bed sores, falls, as well as related post-surgery medical issues that can lead to death or higher expenses.
According to the study, one in ten patients over 54 years old that go through cancer surgery are at risk, and patients over 75 are even more in danger. This is particularly concerning, as that is the fastest going segment of population in the United States.
First of all, I’ll start with the study’s limitations. It is a meta-analysis, meaning that the researchers looked over the data of other studies and files in order to get the data required for their own study. Additionally, as an observational study, there was no cause-effect relationship found between being an elderly cancer survivor and having complications, but instead only a link between the two.
By looking at the data of 939,150 cancer patients that had surgery, the team of researchers divided the subjects into two age groups – ages 55 to 65 and ages 65 and above. The team used data collected from 2009 to 2011.
From all the 939,150 patients, 9.2% of them experienced complications or health issues after their surgeries. Again, as expected, the additional health issues and complications were far more prevalent in the 65+ age category.
Additionally, the elderly patients that went through surgery and were suffering from complications had a pretty high risk of developing another simultaneous condition. Of course, they also had much higher hospital bills and spent a lot more time in the hospital.
They were also far more likely to end up in elderly care facilities, as well as to die before reaching a complete recovery. This highlights the importance of doctor-patient communication, as a large number of the population segment isn’t exactly sure what the operation they’re going through implies.
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