The medical records of all patients admitted to the solid tumor service of the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center over a three-month period were reviewed to determine the incidence and nature of major neurologic problems on the inpatient service of a university-based comprehensive cancer center. Seventy-four of 162 patients (46 percent) admitted during this time had tumor invading or compressing the nervous system, pain, seizures, or alteration in mental status. The most common problems were pain (34 patients) and altered mental status (25 patients). The evaluation or treatment of a neurologic problem constituted the second most common reason for admission to this inpatient oncology unit. Neurologic problems will soon be the most common reason for hospital admissions in patients with disseminated cancer as a result of changes in patterns of health care delivery and improvements in systemic therapy and supportive care.
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