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Changing trends in rectal cancer surgery in Ontario: 2002–2009


Aim — The safety and efficacy of laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer have been demonstrated in large, multi-centre clinical trials. The study aimed to determine the use of laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer in Ontario over a seven year period.

Method — The researchers conducted a retrospective study examining rates of elective rectal cancer surgery among 10.5 million adults in Ontario, Canada from April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2009. The researchers linked the databases of the Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database, Registered Persons Database and the Ontario Cancer Registry to assess procedures used over the period. Data on demographics were collected. Trends were assessed using time series analysis.

Results — Over the 7-year period, 8,189 open and 1,079 laparoscopic elective operations for rectal cancer were identified. The annual rate of laparoscopic rectal cancer procedures increased from 0.60 in 2003 to 2.24 per 100,000 population in 2008 (p < 0.01). Laparoscopic patients were similar to open with respect to age (66.5 ± 11.8 vs. 66.2 ± 12.1 years; standardized difference=0.02), gender (63.2% vs. 59.4%; standardized difference = 0.08) Charlson Comorbidity Index Score (standardized difference < 0.1) and socioeconomic status (standardized difference 0.1).

Conclusion — Laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery rates are increasing in Ontario. Ongoing research regarding the long-term safety and effectiveness of the laparoscopic approach for rectal cancer surgeries may lead to greater increases in its utilization.



Musselman RP, Gomes T, Chan BP, Auer RC, Moloo H, Mamdani M, Al-Omran M, Al-Obeed O, Boushey RP. Colorectal Dis. 2012; 14(12):1467-72. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

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