FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery for esophageal
cancer can result in lingering health problems for long-term
survivors, a new study finds.
Common complaints among patients who survived for five years
after esophageal cancer surgery include breathlessness, fatigue,
insomnia and eating problems, according to researchers from the
Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Patients who experienced a serious
complication after surgery reported worse symptoms.
The study was published online April 2 in the
Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"Patients who suffer serious post-operative complications after surgery for esophageal cancer need very close, long-term monitoring so that any problems that arise can be identified and targeted quickly," said study research team member Maryam Derogar, a doctoral student at the department of molecular medicine and surgery, in a journal news release.
The operation for esophageal cancer, which involves the abdomen,
chest and throat, is performed on one-quarter to one-third of
patients with the disease. Of these surgical patients, about
one-third survive for at least five years after surgery.
The researchers followed 141 patients who had surgery for
esophageal cancer in Sweden over four years. In the five years
after surgery, about one-third experienced at least one
complication, such as severe infection or chronic breathing
The patients were also asked to rate their quality of life. One
in six patients had a quality of life well below the national
The researchers found those who had a serious complication from
their surgery experienced more breathlessness, fatigue, insomnia,
heartburn and eating problems than those who did not have
complications, and that those symptoms persisted for years.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on