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The use of erythropoietin improve anaemia and reduces blood transfusions in surgery for cancer of the large bowel.

Patients with cancer of the large bowel are often anaemic and sometimes receive transfusions which may be harmful. The medication erythropoietin can be used to increase hemoglobin levels in a variety of situations and several studies have looked at this in patients who have surgery for their large bowel cancer. This systematic review of four studies found there is insufficient evidence to support the use of erythropoietin in the preoperative and post‐operative period for improving anaemia and decreasing blood transfusions. There was also no evidence that the medication was the cause of increased complications or deaths. Future studies or erythropoietin in large bowel cancer surgery should increase the dose or duration of treatment.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

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