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UCLA cancer researchers develop quality measures for colorectal cancer surgery

A set of quality measures used to evaluate the quality of care received by patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer has been created by UCLA researchers in an effort to improve care before, during and after the surgery.

Improving the quality of surgical care for colorectal cancer patients is vital as the number of resections continues to increase in an aging population, said Dr. Clifford Ko, an associate professor of surgery, a researcher at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and lead author of the study. About 148,000 people will get colorectal cancer this year alone, and about 90 to 95 percent of those will undergo surgery.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer type among new cancers being diagnosed in the United States and as such, is treated at major academic medical centers as well as in community hospitals and surgical centers. Because it is treated in so many different places, guidelines outlining the best care for patients provide a valuable tool.

Ko and his colleagues came up with 92 quality of care indicators in six broad areas that encompass everything from surgeon credentials to patient-care provider discussions to medication use. The study is published in the Nov. 15 of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The new quality indicators cover all aspects of surgical care, including a patient's health evaluation before the surgery to the most appropriate surgical techniques to resect varying types of colorectal cancer to creating a list of medications the patient already is taking to avoid dangerous interactions. The new quality indicators, which expand on a set of practice guidelines created by the National Cancer Institute in 2000, also detail the best post-operative patient management practices.

"You can do the best operation in the world, but it doesn't mean much if the patient doesn't do well after surgery," Ko said.

To come up with the quality indicators, Ko
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
14-Nov-2006


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