Removing cancerous tumors and tissue through surgery represents the oldest and most common type of cancer treatment.
The J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center offers the specialized discipline of surgical oncology in various forms, depending on the extent of the cancer. When the cancer has not yet spread to other parts of the body, the simple removal of a small tumor offers the greatest chance for a cure.
In cases where the cancer has grown into nearby organs, tissues and glands, surgery can become more complex and may require other types of supportive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, prior to or instead of surgery.
In addition, cancer surgery can take any of these forms:
- Preventive surgery to remove nonmalignant body tissue before it is likely to become malignant.
- Diagnostic surgery, usually performed through a biopsy, to obtain a tissue sample to determine whether it is cancerous.
- Staging surgery to evaluate the extent, size and type of cancer.
- Palliative surgery to relieve pain and other complications caused by advanced cancer.
- Reconstructive surgery to reshape or rebuild a part of the body changed by cancer surgery.
In recent years, groundbreaking advances in laparoscopic surgery, including robotic technology, are revolutionizing the arena of cancer surgery — in terms of both elevating survival rates and improving the quality of life for cancer patients.
Compared to conventional open surgery, these small-incision techniques preserve much more surrounding normal tissue, and results in smaller incisions, a reduction in pain and complications, a shorter hospital stay and recovery time, and a quicker start to any subsequent forms of treatment that may be indicated.