Cancer Surgery

Cancer Surgery
Cancer Surgery
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What is Cancer Surgery?

The possibility of cancer surgery may worry you. You can help your mind relax by increasing your knowledge about how and why surgery is performed.

Cancer surgery is the process of removing a part from the body for the diagnosis or treatment of cancer and is the basis of cancer treatment.

How is cancer surgery used in treatment?

Situations where you are likely to be a cancer surgery candidate include:

Cancer prevention.

If you are at high risk of developing cancer in certain tissues or organs, your doctor may recommend removing those tissues or organs before cancer occurs. For example, if you were born with a genetic condition called familial adenomatous polyposis, your doctor may perform cancer surgery that involves removal of the colon and rectum because you are at serious risk of colon cancer.


Your doctor can use some form of cancer surgery to remove all or part of the tumor. Thus, it is possible to examine the tumor under the microscope and the distinction is made between cancer (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).

Cancer surgery can help your doctor determine how advanced the cancer is, which tells you the stage of the cancer. Surgery allows the doctor to assess the size of the tumor and decide whether it has spread to the lymph nodes. Additional tests may be required to assess the stage of the cancer.

Primary therapy.

For many tumors, cancer surgery is the best chance of treatment, especially if the cancer is limited and has not spread.

Removal of tumor tissues.

When it is not possible to remove the entire cancerous tumor – for example, if removal would seriously damage an organ – your doctor can remove as much of the tumor as possible to make chemotherapy or radiotherapy more effective.

Relieve symptoms and side effects.

Sometimes surgery is applied to improve your quality of life rather than treat your cancer. For example, to relieve pain caused by the compression of the tumor on a nerve or bone, or to remove a tumor that causes obstruction in the intestine.

Surgery is often used in conjunction with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Whether you will receive additional cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of your cancer and your general health.

How is cancer surgery performed?

The first goal of cancer surgery is to completely remove the cancer from your body and treat it. The surgeon usually does this by cutting out some healthy tissue surrounding it along with the cancerous tissue to make sure all the cancer is removed.

The surgeon may also remove several lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread. This way, your doctor can evaluate your chances of treatment and your need for further treatment.

In cases of breast cancer, your doctor may remove the entire breast tissue (mastectomy) or simply remove the portion containing the cancerous tissue and surrounding tissue (lumpectomy).

In cases of lung cancer, your doctor may remove part of the lung (lobectomy) or the entire lung (pneumonectomy) during the procedure to make sure the cancer is completely removed.

In both of these examples, the surgeon can remove several lymph nodes in the surgical area during the operation to see if the cancer has spread.

What are the other techniques used in cancer surgery?

There are many surgical methods for cancer treatment and conditions that can cause cancer, and researchers continue to work on new methods. Some common types of cancer surgery are:

In this form of surgery, your doctor uses a very cold material such as a liquid nitrogen spray or cold probe. Thus, cancer cells and cells that tend to cause cancer – irregular cells in the cervix, for example, can cause cervical cancer – are frozen and destroyed.

Your doctor can kill cancer cells by applying high frequency electrical current. For example, it is used on lips and skin.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery, which is applied in the treatment of many types of cancer, uses high-intensity beams to shrink or vaporize cancer cells.

Mohs Surgery

This method, which is suitable for removing cancer from sensitive areas of the skin such as areas close to the eyes and evaluating the depth of cancer, consists of carefully removing the cancer layer by layer with a scalpel. After a layer is removed, your doctor evaluates it under a microscope and continues until there are no abnormal cells and no traces of cancer appear in the surrounding tissue.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Using a laparoscope, the surgeon can view the inside of your body without large incisions. Instead, several small incisions are made and surgical instruments are advanced into the body with a thin camera. The surgeon watches a monitor that reflects what the camera is viewing inside the body. The smaller the incision, the faster the healing and the lower the risk of complications. Laparoscopic surgery is used in cancer diagnosis, staging, treatment and symptom relief.

Robotic Surgery

In robotic surgery, the surgeon sits away from the operating table, watches a screen that reflects a three-dimensional view of the operating area, and uses hand controls that describe how the robot should maneuver with surgical instruments to perform the operation. Robotic surgery helps the surgeon to operate in hard-to-reach areas.

Natural Orifice (Aperture) Surgery

Natural orifice surgery is still being studied as a way to operate intraabdominal organs without skin incision. The surgeon advances surgical instruments through one of the body’s natural openings, such as the mouth, rectum, or vagina, instead of the incision.

For example, during natural orifice surgery, the surgeon can move surgical instruments down your throat to reach your stomach. A small incision is made in the stomach wall and the instruments pass into the abdominal cavity to take tissue samples from the liver or remove the gallbladder.

Natural orifice surgery is experimental and few surgeries have been performed in this way. Doctors hope this method reduces the risk of infection, pain, and surgical complications.

Cancer surgery continues to evolve. Researchers are studying other surgical techniques with less invasive procedure goals.

What can you expect before and after cancer surgery?

kanser tedavisi sirasinda ve sonrasinda kisisel bakiminizi ihmal etmeyin Preparation and recovery for cancer surgery is quite diverse depending on the operation. However, you can usually expect certain similarities, such as:


Certain tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, X-Rays and other imaging methods, are usually performed on the days before surgery. These tests help your doctor assess your surgical needs, such as know your blood type in case you need a blood transfusion, and identify risk situations such as infection.

If you are going to undergo a surgical procedure, you will likely need some type of anesthetic – a medicine that prevents the sensation of pain. Anesthesia options vary depending on the type of operation.


Depending on your surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for a while before you go home. The healthcare team that takes care of you will give you specific guidance on issues such as wound care, foods and behaviors you should avoid, and medications you will take for your recovery.

What are the risks of cancer surgery?

The side effects you may experience after cancer surgery depend on your surgery. Generally, many cancer operations carry the following risks:


Pain is a common side effect in many operations. Some cause more pain than others. Your healthcare team will explain how to keep your pain at a minimum and make sure you take medications to reduce or relieve pain.


The operating area may become infected. Your healthcare team will show you how to care for postoperative wound care. Follow this scheme carefully to avoid infection, because postoperative infections can prolong your recovery time. In rare cases where an infection develops, your doctor will likely provide you with antibiotics.

Loss of organ function

The surgeon may need to remove an entire organ to remove the cancer. For example, kidney cancer may require complete removal of a kidney (nephrectomy).

In some such procedures, the remaining organ may sufficiently compensate for the loss, but in other cases, defects may remain. For example, removing a lung (pneumonectomy) can cause breathing difficulties.

Blood Clots

All operations are at risk of bleeding. Your surgeon will try to reduce the risk.
Blood clot. Increased risk of developing blood clots during recovery after surgery. While the risk is small, the complications can be serious.

Blood clots most commonly occur in the legs and can cause swelling and pain.

The blood clot can break off and travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), this is a very serious condition and can sometimes be fatal.

In order to reduce the risk of clot formation, your surgeon will take precautions such as getting you up as soon as possible after surgery and giving medications to thin the blood.

Changes in intestinal and bladder studies

You may experience difficulty with bowel movements or urination immediately after surgery. This situation usually resolves within a few days depending on the procedure.

No matter what cancer treatment your doctor recommends, you are likely to feel anxious about your condition and the course of treatment. Knowing what you might encounter can help. You can use this information to help you ask conscious questions when talking to your doctor.

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