esophageal cancer

A recent study has found that surgeries for esophageal cancer that are performed earlier in the week are associated with better 5-year mortality outcomes, compared with surgeries performed later in the week.


Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have reported an interesting finding in the journal Annals of Surgery. The researchers studied the days of the week on which patients with esophageal cancer underwent surgery. A total of 1748 surgeries were analysed, in an effort to determine whether there was any influence of surgery occurring on any particular day of the week. The researchers reported that surgeries occurring on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday were associated with a 13% increase in all-cause and 5-year mortality, when compared to surgeries occurring on Monday or Tuesday. The results were found to be strongest in patients with early stage tumors, compared with later stage tumors, which already have a worse prognosis.

While the specific reason for the results are still not known, it is known that the experience of the surgeon plays a significant role in prognosis following surgery, and that removing the tumor is a delicate and precise task. The researchers suggest the possibility that the quality of surgery may diminish towards the end of the week, which may be a contributing factor to the observed results. The researchers state that further studies are necessary in order to confirm the results, which may impact on clinical recommendations for timing of surgery for esophageal cancer.


Karolinska Institutet News Release: “Weekday of surgery affects oesophageal cancer surgery prognosis” Available from:,c9869666 Last Accessed: November 18, 2015.

Jesper Lagergren, Fredrik Mattsson & Pernilla Lagergren, Weekday of esophageal cancer surgery and its relation to prognosis , Annals of Surgery , online 10 November 2015








Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD


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