Shortcomings and deficits in surgical treatment of gynecological cancers: a German problem only?

Gynecol Oncol. 2002 Sep;86(3):337-43. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2002.6767.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the quality of preoperative diagnostic, primary surgical, and postoperative treatment of ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers in women in Hesse, Germany, in relation to current international recommendations.

Methods: Data on all diagnostic, surgical, and postoperative gynecological procedures undertaken in Hesse in 1997-2001 were collected in a standardized form and validated for clinical quality. Databases were generated for cases of endometrial, ovarian, and cervical cancer, and details of treatment were analyzed.

Results: There were 1119 cases of endometrial, 824 cases of ovarian, and 472 cases of cervical cancer. The malignancy remained undiagnosed until after surgery in 17.8% (199/1119) of endometrial cancers, 28.5% (245/824) of ovarian cancers, and 15.5% (73/472) of cervical cancers. There was evidence of suboptimal surgical treatment. Lymphadenectomy rates were low in endometrial and ovarian cancers (about 32%), and omentectomy rates in were low in ovarian cancer (about 50%). Furthermore, 10.7% (31/289) of patients with cervical cancer diagnosed before hospital admission did not undergo radical surgery.

Conclusion: Discrepancies between guidelines and treatment of gynecological cancers in Hesse were striking, particularly for endometrial and ovarian cancer, and this situation may be mirrored internationally. The fact that many guidelines are not supported by results from clinical studies may be a factor in this apparently suboptimal treatment. Clinical collaborative trials are needed to provide the necessary evidence to support current recommendations and benchmarks of survey are required to facilitate future quality assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / standards*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care / standards
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*