|Funding||Bowel Disease Research Foundation|
14,000 new cases of rectal cancer are diagnosed each year, frail and elderly patients represent a rising proportion of these patients. Whilst the gold standard is often to remove the tumour and restore bowel continuity, surgeons will often avoid this procedure in this group of patients as they unfortunately tolerate surgical complications very poorly. Such surgical complications may present with life threatening sepsis, can prolong hospital stay, delay further cancer therapy and in the elderly or frail patient often leads to loss of independence and quality of life. In this setting, there are two alternative procedures (Hartmann’s procedure OR intersphincteric APE) that may be used and these are employed in roughly equal measure in the UK (nationwide survey, Dec 2013, unpublished data).We feel that a larger, prospective dataset is required to demonstrate the superiority of IAPE over HP and convince the remaining surgeons to change procedure.