Women who have surgery for ovarian cancer have better outcomes if they are treated at high-volume hospitals, according to researchers at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
The improved survival rate is not dependent on a lower rate of complications following surgery, but on the treatment of complications. Patients with a complication after surgery at a low-volume hospital are nearly 50 percent more likely to die as a result of the complication than patients seen at highvolume hospitals, according to the study.
"It is widely documented that surgical volume has an important effect on outcomes following surgery," said Dr. Jason D. Wright, a gynecologic oncologist at NYP/Columbia and the lead author of the study published online this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. What the current study shows is the importance of improving the care of patients with complications from surgery.
"We also believe in the importance of adhering to quality guidelines and best practices, which may overcome these volume-based disparities," said Dr. Dawn Hershman, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology, another of the study's authors.
The research team reviewed data from more than 36,000 women aged 18 to 90 who underwent removal of one or both ovaries at 1,166 hospitals from 1998 to 2009.