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עמוד בית
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January 2018
Rana Afifi MD, Benjamin Person MD and Riad Haddad MD

Background: Lymph node (LN) retrieval and assessment is essential for accurate staging and treatment planning in colorectal cancer (CRC). According to U.S. National Cancer Institute recommendations, the minimal number of LNs needed for accurately staging of node-negative CRC is 12. Awareness and implementation of the guidelines has been shown to improve after assigning an opinion leader who has a special interest in CRC.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of dialogue between surgeons and pathologists in LN evaluation.

Methods: Consecutively treated CRC patients at the Department of Surgery B at Rambam Medical Center from January 1, 2000 through July 30, 2005 were identified from hospital discharge files. Demographic, surgical, and pathological data were extracted. Patients were divided into two groups. Group I patients underwent surgery before the initiation of a structured surgical oncology service (January 1, 2000 to October 30, 2004). Group II patients underwent surgery after the initiation of the service (November 1, 2004 to July 30, 2005).

Results: The study comprised 212 patients (Group I: n=170; Group II: n=42). The median number of LNs examined was 9 in Group I and 14 in Group II (P = 0.003). Only 35% of patients in Group I received adequate LN evaluation compared to 79% in Group II (P = 0.0001). Patients with left-sided or rectal cancer were less likely to receive adequate LN evaluation than patients with right-sided cancers.

Conclusions: A durable improvement in LN evaluation was realized through a multi-pronged change initiative aimed at both surgeons and pathologists.

June 2013
O. Ben-Ishay, E. Brauner, Z. Peled, A. Othman, B. Person and Y. Kluger
 Background: Colon cancer is common, affecting mostly older people. Since age is a risk factor, young patients might not be awarded the same attention as older ones regarding symptoms that could imply the presence of colon cancer.

Objectives: To investigate whether young patients, i.e., under age 50, complain of symptoms for longer than older patients until the diagnosis of colon cancer is established.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, patients were divided into two groups: < 50 years old (group 1) and ≥ 50 (group 2). All had undergone surgery for left or right colon cancer during the 1 year period January 2000 through December 2009 at one medical center. Rectal and sigmoid cancers were excluded. Data collected included age, gender, quantity and quality of complaints, duration of complaints, in-hospital versus community diagnosis, pathological staging, the side of colon involved, and overall mortality. The main aim was the quality and duration of complaints. Secondary outcomes were the pathological stage at presentation and the mortality rate.

Results: The study group comprised 236 patients: 31 (13.1%) were < 50 years old and 205 (86.9%) were ≥ 50 years. No significant difference was found in the quantity and quality of complaints between the two groups. Patients in group 1 (< 50 years) complained for a longer period, 5.3 vs. 2.4 months (P = 0.002). More younger patients were diagnosed with stage IV disease (38.7% vs. 21.5%, P = 0.035) and fewer had stage I disease (3.2% vs. 15.6%, P = 0.06); the mortality rates were similar (41.9% vs. 39%). Applying a stepwise logistic regression model, the duration of complaints was found to be an independent predictor of mortality (P = 0.03, OR 1.6, 95% CI 1–3.6), independently of age (P = 0.003) and stage (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Younger patients are more often diagnosed with colon cancer later, at a more advanced stage. Alertness to patients’ complaints, together with evaluation regardless of age but according to symptoms and clinical presentation are crucial. Large-scale population-based studies are needed to confirm this trend. 

November 2012
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