Cancer Surgery: Helping Ensure Your Best Possible Outcome
Surgery is an important, extremely common treatment for cancer. For many patients, a cancer diagnosis involves the presence of a tumor, for which surgical removal is often the first step. But the truth is that oncological surgery is any surgical procedure that’s being performed to treat or relieve cancer. Some procedures may be performed to prevent cancer from developing, making them a form of cancer surgery, as well.
Most people who receive a cancer diagnosis are likely to need and have surgery as part of their individualized treatment plan, including here at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division. The exact nature and extent of cancer surgery is of course dependent on the diagnosis, staging, health, and unique needs of the patient. As with any surgery, risk factors are an essential consideration, and not every individual is a good candidate for surgery.
Cancer surgery has a variety of goals.
The exact surgical procedure and the techniques and tools used are also dependent on the unique factors of your cancer. These factors include the specific reasons behind — and goals for — your surgical oncology procedures. And there are several of them, including:
- To remove cancerous tissue (in whole or in part)
- To accurately and completely diagnose and stage cancer, including determining its location, spread and effects
- To restore appearance of function affected by cancer or treatment
- To relieve the side effects of cancer
- To relieve cancer pain or other symptoms – palliative care
Comprehensive capabilities to meet all your cancer surgery needs.
With top-quality surgical teams as part of our cancer care network, we’re able to help you get excellent treatment and results for virtually any type of cancer surgery. Here is a brief summary of the different approaches to using surgery to help you fight cancer:
- Prevention – Preventive surgery can stop cancer before it starts. Usually, this is accomplished by removing precancerous tissues before they become malignant. A prime example: intestinal polyps. In some cases where there’s a high likelihood of developing a specific type of cancer, it may be appropriate to remove an entire organ.
- Diagnosis – Biopsy is commonly the best way to determine if suspicious tissue is cancerous. A cluster of cells from the suspect tissue is removed surgically and evaluated in the pathology lab for malignancy.
- Staging – Staging surgery helps us to discover specifics about the type of cancer somebody has and how far it has spread, two key factors in determining which treatment will be most appropriate and effective for you.
- Curative – For localized cancers, surgery to remove a tumor is very common and can effectively cure cancer by removing all malignant cells from the body. Curative surgery is often combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy to maximize curative potential.
- Debulking – Surgery is often performed to remove only part of a tumor in order to reduce its size and mass (debulking) to better facilitate chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Debulking surgery is also commonly used to treat people for whom full removal could cause too much damage.
- Palliative – Relief of pain or other symptoms is a completely valid reason for cancer surgery. Our affiliated surgeons help many patients by alleviating their discomfort and improving their quality of life… even when cure is not a viable option.
- Supportive – Some surgeries are performed for the purpose of making other cancer treatments more possible, efficient or effective. One example: surgery to insert a chemotherapy access port is more efficient and wiser than repuncturing a patient’s skin before every chemotherapy treatment.
- Restorative – Cancer surgery can also include an operation to restore appearance or the function of an organ affected by cancer or cancer treatment (e.g., breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy operation).
As the coordinators of your cancer care and your advocates for leading-edge treatment and optimal outcomes, RCCA-CJD’s oncologists are dedicated to your best interests. We know this very often involves surgical treatment, which is why we work with some of the best surgeons in New Jersey, specialists we have come to trust for their broad capabilities and track record for achieving great results.