How is surgery used in cancer treatment?
Cancer surgery may be used to achieve different goals depending on the stage and type of cancer.
- For many tumors, cancer surgery is the best chance for a cure, especially if the tumor is located in one area of the body and hasn’t spread.
- When surgeons cannot remove the entire tumor because it might damage certain organs, they remove as much of the tumor as they can in a procedure called ‘debulking’ and then use chemotherapy or radiation to eradicate the rest of the tumor.
Preventative cancer surgery:
Cancer surgery can also be preventive – for example, if you are at a high risk of developing a certain kind of cancer, your doctor might advise surgery to remove tissues or organs before cancer has a chance to develop.
Diagnostic cancer surgery:
Doctors also use surgery for diagnostic and staging purposes to determine whether tumors are malignant or benign or whether some cells are cancerous. They do this by performing surgery to remove a tissue sample for further pathological testing.