Cancer continues to be a key cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and its overall incidence continues to increase. Anaesthetists are increasingly faced with the challenge of managing cancer patients, for surgical resection to debulk or excise the primary tumour, or for surgical emergencies in patients on chemotherapy or for the analgesic management of disease- or treatment-related chronic pain. Metastatic recurrence is a concern. Surgery and a number of perioperative factors are suspected to accelerate tumour growth and potentially increase the risk of metastatic recurrence. Retrospective analyses have suggested an association between anaesthetic technique and cancer outcomes, and anaesthetists have sought to ameliorate the consequences of surgical trauma and minimise the impact of anaesthetic interventions. Just how anaesthesia and analgesia impact cancer recurrence and consequent survival is very topical, as understanding the potential mechanisms and interactions has an impact on the anaesthetist's ability to contribute to the successful outcome of oncological interventions. The outcome of ongoing, prospective, randomized trials are awaited with interest.
Keywords: NSAIDs; anaesthesia; cancer; metastases; opioids; recurrence; regional.
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