Tumour cells are left in the body of two-thirds of patients who undergo so-called curative cancer surgery. The survival rate isn't too impressive either, with around 25 per cent of patients dying soon after the operation.
These depressing statistics have been put together by researchers who looked at the outcome of 222 patients who underwent 'curative' surgery for colorectal cancer. Eighteen per cent died from cancer afterwards despite having surgery, and a further 8 per cent died from other causes.
But most worrying of all, 70 per cent of patients still had cancer cells left in their body following surgery, although researchers felt they would not necessarily cause further tumour growth.
(Source: Archives of Surgery, 2008; 143: 122-8).