Introduction: The inflammatory response to a post-operative infection can increase the risk of tumour recurrence in cancer through the release of pro-inflammatory mediators. The aim of this study was review the literature to assess the relationship between post-operative complications and cancer recurrence. Methods: We performed a literature review of the mechanism of such an association and looked at evidence in different cancer subtypes. Results: A relationship has been identified for many cancer subtypes, and multiple theories have been proposed for the mechanism of this association. Methods to reduce post-operative complications may impact positively on cancer recurrence rates. Conclusion: This review demonstrates that wound complications after surgery can have significant implications for cancer patients. Strategies are required to minimize the risk of post-operative wound complications in patients undergoing cancer resection.