Colorectal cancer in patients with previous spinal cord injury

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BACKGROUND:The optimum management of large-bowel cancer in patients with previous spinal cord injury (SCI) is uncertain.PURPOSE:The aim is to determine the outcome of patients with SCI who are undergoing colectomy or proctectomy for cancer.METHODS:A population-based study of patients receiving care at hospitals in the Department of Veterans Affairs system from 1987 to 1991 was performed. Patients with ICD-9 codes for SCI and colon and rectal cancer were identified. Patients with previous SCI who underwent colectomy or proctectomy for their cancer comprised the study population. Data were compiled from national computerized Veterans Affairs datasets, supplemented by individual operative reports and discharge summaries.RESULTS:Forty-four patients were evaluable. Mean age was 65 (range, 40-80) years, and mean time since SCI was 24 (range, 1-50) years. Mean follow-up was 4.6 years after resection. Distribution of tumors was 39 percent rightsided, 43 percent left-sided, and 18 percent rectal. All 32 patients with colonic tumors underwent resection; 26 of 32 patients (81 percent) had an anastomosis. Seven of eight (88 percent) rectal lesions were treated by abdominoperineal resection. Twenty-six of 44 patients (59 percent) presented with Stage III or IV disease. Twelve of 44 (27 percent) died, 8 of 12 from cancer. Overall 30-day mortality rate was 4.5 percent (2/44). In-hospital morbidity rate (pulmonary, cutaneous, and urinary tract only) was 34 percent. Among those who received postoperative chemotherapy, 80 percent completed treatment.CONCLUSIONS:Patients with previous SCI tolerate resection well. Tumor distribution and stage are similar to those of neurally intact patients. Morbidity is commonly related to pre-existing complications of SCI. Adjuvant therapy is well tolerated.

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