American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS Cancer Research Program

Cancer Research Program

Surgical Emergencies in Advanced Cancer Patients: How to Navigate a Perilous Time

In the June 2021 issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, authors from the ACS Cancer Research Program (CRP) discuss the management of surgical emergencies in advanced cancer patients. Patients with advanced cancers may be at increased risk of surgical emergencies because of local tumor invasion, immunosuppression, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and frequent endoscopic and percutaneous procedures. Surgeons often are confronted with the complex management of these patients after hours and do not always have access to input from the patient's primary oncologist. Furthermore, when confronting a surgical oncology emergency, surgeons often are meeting the patient for the first time and lack the benefit of having an established relationship with the patient. These factors can make the management of surgical emergencies in cancer patients quite challenging. Fortunately, increasing evidence is available to help guide surgeons as they navigate these clinically, and often emotionally, difficult situations.