Introduction: Cancellations of elective surgery in low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) are common and a major hindrance for patients who are in need of surgical therapeutic modalities. This is especially important in the context of scaling up needed surgical interventions for gynaecological cancer care. There is a knowledge gap in the literature related to cancellation of gynaecologic oncology surgeries in LMIC, where there is enormous need for this specific cancer surgical capacity. We report in an observational descriptive fashion, our experience at the UTH/CDH in Lusaka, Zambia, on the causes of surgical cancellations in gynaecologic oncology.
Methods: From January 1, 2021 through June 31, 2023, we retrospectively evaluated the surgical registry for gynaecologic oncology at the UTH/CDH in Lusaka, Zambia to assess the number and causes of surgical cancellations.
Results: There were a total of 66 (16.96%) surgical cancellations out of 389 scheduled gynaecologic oncology cases. Lack of available blood and/or low haemoglobin was the most frequent cause of surgical cancellations, 27 cases (40.90%).
Conclusion: We highlight in our series that the lack of blood, leading to surgical cancellations was the most frequent impediment related to performing scheduled gynaecologic oncology surgical procedures. As gynaecologic oncology services scale up in LMIC, given the radical nature of surgery and its association with blood loss, it is incumbent on the entire clinical ecosystem to address this issue and to develop mitigating strategies, specific to their respective resource setting.