A fifth of women who undergo major surgery for gynaecological cancer face suffering a further complication, data suggest.
Researchers found that 19% of women across the UK who undergo such surgery suffer complications including bladder injuries, bowel injuries and haemorrhages.
The data, which will be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) cancer conference in Liverpool today, also show that one in 30 women experience a serious complication, which may need another operation or procedure.
The UK Gynaecological Oncology Surgical Outcomes and Complications audit examined 1,600 operations carried out across 10 centres in the UK between April 2010 and July 2011.
Dr Jane Cope, director of the NCRI, said: "All surgery carries risks and it's important that patients know that there may be complications during and after their operations.
"Setting nationwide benchmarks will be an important step in helping doctors and patients better understand the effectiveness of current treatment. Doctors and surgeons can then go on to develop improvements, which will give better outcomes for the patients of the future."
Dr Andy Nordin, a consultant gynaecological oncologist and co-author of the audit, added: "This work is giving us a complete picture of each patient's treatment, from the operating theatre to eight weeks after they've been discharged.
"In addition to the complication rates, it provides other key information, including details of patients' medical history along with the complexity of their operation.
"We hope to see this electronic data collection process brought into routine practice to improve the information collected by the NHS and to help us to continue to improve surgical outcomes in the UK.
"The findings, along with the hard work involved in data collection, may well prove useful in other countries too."
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