The methods used to anesthetize prostate cancer patients and control pain when their prostate glands are surgically removed for adenocarcinoma may affect their long-term cancer outcomes. A study led by Mayo ClinicÂ foundÂ opioids, painkillers commonly given during and after surgery, may suppress the immune systemâ€™s ability to fight cancer cells. Anesthesiologist andÂ senior authorÂ Juraj Sprung, M.D., Ph.D., says,Â â€śWe found a significant association between this opioid-sparing technique, reduced progression of the prostate tumor and overall mortality.â€ť
The research suggests that supplementing general anesthesia with a spinal or epidural painkiller before a radical prostatectomy reduces a patientâ€™s need for opioids after surgery, and this finding was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence. The findings are published online in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.
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Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Sprung are available in the downloads.