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  • Author: Matthew P. Guttman x
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Julie Hallet, Bourke Tillman, Jesse Zuckerman, Matthew P. Guttman, Tyler Chesney, Alyson L. Mahar, Wing C. Chan, Natalie Coburn, Barbara Haas, and members of the Recovery after Surgical Therapy for Older adults Research–Cancer (RESTORE-Cancer) Group

Background: Although frailty is known to impact short-term postoperative outcomes, its long-term impact is unknown. This study examined the association between frailty and remaining alive and at home after cancer surgery among older adults. Methods: Adults aged ≥70 years undergoing cancer resection were included in this population-based retrospective cohort study using linked administrative datasets in Ontario, Canada. The probability of remaining alive and at home in the 5 years after cancer resection was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods. Extended Cox regression with time-varying effects examined the association between frailty and remaining alive and at home. Results: Of 82,037 patients, 6,443 (7.9%) had preoperative frailty. With median follow-up of 47 months (interquartile range, 23–81 months), patients with frailty had a significantly lower probability of remaining alive and at home 5 years after cancer surgery compared with those without frailty (39.1% [95% CI, 37.8%–40.4%] vs 62.5% [95% CI, 62.1%–63.9%]). After adjusting for age, sex, rural living, material deprivation, immigration status, cancer type, surgical procedure intensity, year of surgery, and receipt of perioperative therapy, frailty remained associated with increased hazards of not remaining alive and at home. This increase was highest 31 to 90 days after surgery (hazard ratio [HR], 2.00 [95% CI, 1.78–2.24]) and remained significantly elevated beyond 1 year after surgery (HR, 1.56 [95% CI, 1.48–1.64]). This pattern was observed across cancer sites, including those requiring low-intensity surgery (breast and melanoma). Conclusions: Preoperative frailty was independently associated with a decreased probability of remaining alive and at home after cancer surgery among older adults. This relationship persisted over time for all cancer types beyond short-term mortality and the initial postoperative period. Frailty assessment may be useful for all candidates for cancer surgery, and these data can be used when counseling, selecting, and preparing patients for surgery.