Survival Benefits of High-Volume Ovarian Cancer Surgery Centers Come at Accessibility Cost, Study Says

Survival Benefits of High-Volume Ovarian Cancer Surgery Centers Come at Accessibility Cost, Study Says
Hospitals that perform many ovarian cancer surgeries tend to have better treatment outcomes in terms of mortality, a study suggests. But restricting this surgery to only high-volume hospitals would greatly limit treatment availability while only meagerly increasing survival rates, the researchers say. The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, is titled "Potential Consequences of Minimum-Volume Standards for Hospitals Treating Women With Ovarian Cancer." Ovarian cancer surgery comes with a high risk of complications, and prior research has suggested that institutions that perform many of these surgeries tend to report better results. Intuitively, this suggests that having a few hospitals that do many such surgeries would lead to the highest survival rates. While that may true, the practicality of such a system is questionable, researchers say. “There’s a strong rationale for implementing minimum-volume standards at hospitals that perform cancer surgeries," because they are "large procedures that require experience and a very specialized skill set,” Jason Wright, MD, a professor at Columbia University and co-author of the study, said in a press release. "But while some hospital systems are voluntarily implementing minimum-volume standards, we haven’t determined the optimal volume for hospitals performing complex cancer procedures or how applying minimum-volume standards would affect access to care." This is of particular import for women living in more rural areas, who may not have easy access to hospitals that do a lot of ovarian cancer surgeries, Wright said. Wright and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Cancer Database, which included information on 136,196 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 2005 and
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