In a nutshell
This study investigated the impact of starting chemotherapy treatment immediately after colon cancer surgery. Researchers suggested that this option is safe.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. The standard treatment is surgery and chemotherapy. However, colon cancer surgery is associated with a significant number of complications. The start timing of chemotherapy treatment after surgery depends on the condition of the patient. If often starts 6-8 weeks after surgery.
Chemotherapy earlier after surgery could improve survival outcomes. Moreover, prior studies showed that late chemotherapy is associated with negative effects on overall survival. However, it is not clear if starting chemotherapy too soon is associated with more negative side effects.
Methods & findings
This study included 555 patients with stage 2 to 4 colon cancer. All these patients underwent chemotherapy after surgery. Of these, 181 (32.6%) were included in the early group (started chemotherapy before being sent home).
Time to the start of chemotherapy was shorter in the early group (14.9 days) when compared to the standard group (31.5 days; started chemotherapy after being sent home). Factors such as tumor stage were associated with a late start of chemotherapy (more than 8 weeks).
Overall survival after 5 years was significantly better in patients who started chemotherapy within 6 weeks of surgery compared to later (78.8% vs 60.9%).
The bottom line
This study concluded that it is safe and effective to start chemotherapy before being sent home after colon cancer surgery.
The fine print
This study was based on the medical records of patients in only one hospital. These results may differ in different institutions. Further studies are needed.
Published By :
May 01, 2019
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