Background: Obesity and cancer are two common diseases in the United States. Although there is an interaction of obesity and cancer, little is known about surgeon perceptions and practices in the care of obese cancer patients. We sought to characterize perceptions and practices of surgical oncologists regarding the perioperative care of obese patients being treated for cancer. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was designed, pilot tested, and utilized to assess perceptions and practices of surgeons treating cancer patients. Surgical oncologists were identified using a commercially available database, and Qualtrics® was used to distribute and manage the survey. Statistical analyses were completed by using SPSS. Results: Of the 1731 electronic invitations, 172 recipients initiated the survey, and 157 submitted responses (91.2%). Many surgeons (65.7%) believed that obese patients are more likely to present with more advanced cancers and were more likely than system factors to explain this delayed treatment [t(87) = 4.84; p < 0.001]. Nearly two-thirds of providers (64.5%) reported that obesity had no impact on the timing of surgery; however, one-third of respondents (34.2%) were more likely to recommend preoperative nonsurgical therapy rather than upfront surgery among obese patients. For operations of the chest/abdomen and breast/soft tissue, surgeons perceived obesity to be more related to risk of postoperative than intraoperative complications (chest/abdomen mean 4.13 vs. 3.26; breast/soft tissue 4.11 vs. 2.60; p < 0.001). Conclusions: One in three surgeons reported that patient obesity would change the timing/sequence of when resection would be offered. Many surgeons perceived that obesity was related to a wide array of intra- and postoperative adverse outcomes.
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