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Two chances out of three that your hospital did not adequately test to stage colon cancer

Reuters News Agency reported on September 11 that one one hospital in three met established standards for confirming that colon cancer had not spread to lymph nodes.  According to research data published by the National Cancer Institute only about 38 percent of all hospitals test 12 lymph nodes to assure that colon cancer has not metastasized.  According to these experts, data from more than 1200 hospitals showed that after surgery only 38 percent of the hospitals checked at least 12 nodes in three-quarters of all patients.  This is not a new standard of quality or a new problem.  Similar studies done in 1996-7 showed only 15 percent compliance with the widely-published standards.  The study involved more than 82,000 patients, and the "failing" hospitals treated about two-thirds of all cancer patients. The study confirms similar results reported by Dr. Gregory Cooper of Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

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