Breast Cancer Relapse, Post-Surgical Confusion, and Dementia in the Elderly: An Unexpected Connection but with the Same Proposed Solution

Michael W. Retsky, Patrice Forget (Corresponding Author)

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A simple solution may exist for both the problem of sudden dementia and confusion after surgery in the elderly and the bimodal relapse pattern among breast cancer patients who were treated with a mastectomy. Systemic inflammation by a variety of mechanisms can induce tumor outgrowth from dormant states, such as single dormant cells and avascular micrometastases. This may also explain sudden confusion and dementia for the elderly after surgery. We propose that surgery-induced inflammation may be addressed by “protective anesthesia”. We suggest ketorolac for 4 days starting at the time of surgery to prevent early relapse in breast and probably other cancers; perhaps that or something similar could be used before surgery in elderly patients to prevent post-operative cognitive dysfunction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2018



  • breast cancer relapse
  • confusion
  • dementia
  • inflammation

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