Oncoanaesthesia – reducing perioperative cancer risk

Despite curative intent, it is increasingly recognised that perioperative events surrounding the period of cancer surgery and treatment may influence the pattern of cancer recurrence. Central to this is the influence of physiological changes to which a patient is exposed during surgery. Anaesthetic agents, beta-blockers, analgesic agents and epidural/spinal anaesthesia all modulate the adrenergic-inflammatory stress response to surgery that in turn influences the spread and viability of residual cancer cells. The significance of these agents will be discussed, together with a presentation of current trials aimed at refining the type of anaesthesia given to patients during surgery to improve long-term cancer outcomes.

Jonathon Hiller

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Consultant Anaesthetist