About 60% of people who have cancer will have some sort of surgery to cure, prevent, or to decrease their symptoms (MD Anderson Cancer Center). Most of the time when having surgery as a treatment for Cancer, it is normally added onto other treatments like chemotherapy and/or radiation. There are many different types of surgeries to help with many different symptoms or stages.
Some examples of these are Curative, Preventive, Diagnostic, Staging, Debulking, and Supportive Surgery just to name a few. The treatment isn’t as painful as some other treatments, but it still takes a toll on the body. One type of surgery treatment would be Curative surgery. In Curative surgery the surgeon would remove the cancerous tissue or tumor from your body laparoscopically or invasively.
The healthy tissue around the cancerous tissue is called the margins. Although this type of surgery sounds the easiest it’s not. This type of surgery is actually one of the hardest to perform because if the surgeon can’t get all of the cancerous tissue, then the cancer could grow back and the surgery would be unsuccessful. Unfortunately this type of treatment can’t be used for a wide spread cancer because it would be too hard on your body. But if you were to undergo radiation or chemotherapy to localize the cancer, then you could possibly have the surgery. Another treatment is Preventive surgery, which is basically where you don’t have the cancerous tissue or cells yet but you want to prevent it.
Preventive surgery can also be known as prophylactic surgery. An example of this could be when a woman is notified that she has a high chance of getting breast cancer based on her medical history. In most cases, women will have their breasts removed to prevent getting the cancerous cells. Unfortunately sometimes the patient will not give consent because they are worried about their reproductive system and their visual looks. Sadly that is one of the cons of this treatment, the other is that sometimes if you only remove some tissue, they cancer could still grow if the surgeon misses any possibly cancerous tissue. A Diagnosis surgery can be used to see if your growth is malignant or benign. A malignant tumor is a cancerous tumor, but if the growth is benign then it isn’t cancerous.
First if the doctor decides to go for this quick treatment then the doctor would laparoscopically take a sample (or the whole thing based on the size) of the tumor. Then they would use a microscope to see if the cells are cancerous, this is called a pathology test. “Microscopic examination of biopsy samples is the ideal way that a positive diagnosis of cancer can be made (National Cancer Institute).” Staging surgery can show the doctors were how far your cancer is.
A doctor can do a staging surgery to see if you need other treatments. An example could be if an oncologist thought the cancer was controlled, then did a staging surgery and realized the cancer is spreading rapidly. Then the doctor from their can create a set of treatments to better the chances for a cure. During the surgery the surgeon may take a sample of the tumor or tissue to evaluate how far the cancer is. Debulking surgery is used to remove some of the cancerous tissue to prevent the cancer to spread. If you were to have the cancerous tissue by your kidneys’, then this would be a good option because it would prevent it from spreading and to make chemotherapy or radiation easier. “Debulking is used when removing an entire tumor might damage an organ or the body (National Cancer Institution).” This type of surgery can either be minimally invasive or invasive depending on the size.
Chemotherapy or Radiation could be given before the surgery to shrink the cancer, for easier debulking. Palliation is surgery used to increase the way of life for people with advanced or wide spread cancer. Some examples are pressure on a nerve or spinal cord, pressure or blockage somewhere else, and cancers in organs that are fragile and can easily bleed (ASCO Cancer.net).
After general cancer, patients can choose to have Reconstruction surgery to restore appearance. Most of the time though the patient will hire a plastic surgeon instead. Overall these surgeries are there to support comfort to the patient while going through this long process. Cancer surgery have its risks, benefits, and side effects just like any other treatment (ASCO cancer.net).
Side effects could include discomfort from incision site, fatigue, poor appetite, numbness, bleeding, Infection, and organ dysfunction. The discomfort from the incision site could be caused by how much tissue was removed or how big the incision was. Fatigue could be caused by the medication or stress from the surgery. Organ dysfunction is temporary and can cause loss in appetite or fatigue. Surgery may be the oldest type of treatment for cancer, but it is still one of the most effective.