Specialization in Gastric Cancer Surgery
Specialization is having sufficient and effective knowledge on a subject. Today, in the medical world, specialization is defined as having competent knowledge on a disease, and in recent years, the benefit of specialization has begun to be emphasized. Initially, it was defined as a branching and over the years, internal and surgical departments were divided into sub-areas. In surgical sciences, these fields are determined as traumatology, breast-endocrine surgery and gastrointestinal system surgery. This branching has brought a different perspective and approach to diseases and has made it possible to be more effective in the management of diseases. In recent years, a specialization approach on diseases and organ systems has developed within these branches. In surgery, surgeons specialized on many organs such as pancreatic surgery, colorectal surgery, gastric surgery, breast surgery, ovarian surgery have increased the efficiency in the management of diseases and the survival and disease-free survival rates of the patients have increased, and the postoperative morbidity and mortality rates have decreased.
Gastric cancer is one of the most common malignant cancers. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment methods, patients may still be diagnosed late, and patients still have a poor prognosis due to the biology of gastric cancer. Even in properly treated patients, five-year survival rates are around 20-30%. With the development of surgical techniques and disease management, clinical outcomes of the disease have improved and mortality has been reduced. In the studies, the definition of gastric surgeon was created and it was determined that the mortality decreased proportionally with the increase in the patient volume of the surgeon. In gastric cancer surgery, there are mostly studies on the number of surgeon patients and the number of hospital patients. Post-hoc analysis of hospital volume on patients included in the CRITICS study showed a 13.1% increase in survival in high-volume hospitals compared to low-volume hospitals. The number of annual resections ≥21 was determined as the definition of high-volume hospital. In addition, it was determined that there was a decrease in mortality as the number of annual cases increased in high-volume hospitals. In another study, it was seen that there was an improvement in the mortality of medium and high volume hospitals compared to low volume hospitals. The majority of studies in gastric cancer surgery have focused on hospital volume and surgeon volume. There are no data on the specialization of the surgeon other than a study based in Japan.
In this study, it was aimed to evaluate the effect of specialization in gastric cancer surgery on short- and long-term clinical outcomes.