General Anesthesia Does Not Boost Cancer Risk, Study
MONDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients given general
anesthesia for surgery, the length or depth of sedation was not
linked to an increased risk of developing cancer within five years
of the operation, Swedish researchers report.
"Neither duration of anesthesia nor increased cumulative time with profound sevoflurane anesthesia was associated with an increased risk for new malignant disease within five years after surgery in previously cancer-free patients," study author Maj-Lis Lindholm, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, concluded in a news release from the International Anesthesia Research Society.
In conducting the study, researchers looked at data on almost
3,000 cancer-free Swedish surgical patients who were given
sevoflurane -- one of the most widely used inhaled anesthetics. The
news release said other studies have raised the theory that
anesthesia might reduce immune responses during surgery.
Following up on the patients five years after surgery, the
researchers found that 4.3 percent had developed cancer. After
taking other factors into consideration, however, the study
revealed that there was no link between the duration of anesthesia
or the time spent at various depths of sedation with the patient's
risk for cancer.
But the researchers pointed out that the rate of cancer among
the participants was 37 percent higher than the general population.
The findings, they noted in the news release, could not explain
this possible increase in cancer risk among patients undergoing
The study authors also pointed out that the findings do not
apply to those having cancer-related surgery or surgeries involving
The findings were published in the October issue of the journal
Anesthesia & Analgesia.
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