Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a scary experience, full of many unknowns. However, different types of cancer surgery serve different purposes. Understanding the different types of cancer surgery can help you know what to expect and plan for, as well as why your surgeon is recommending it.
The seven types of cancer surgery include:
- Removal surgery
- Preventative surgery
- Diagnostic surgery
- Staging surgery
- Debulking surgery
- Palliative surgery
- Supportive surgery
Types of Cancer Surgery
There are different types of surgery for every stage of cancer. Whether it’s to remove a tumor immediately or merely to make patients in advanced stages feel more comfortable, there is a type of cancer surgery available. Keep in mind that surgery is often combined with other forms of treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
1. Removal Surgery
Removal surgery is often the primary form of treatment that you’ll receive for a cancer diagnosis. In this case, your surgeon’s goal is to rid you of your cancer by surgically removing it from your body. It’s most effective when a cancerous tumor or growth is localized to a specific part of the body. This means that it hasn’t spread and is much easier to remove than at later stages.
While removal surgery may be your primary form of treatment, it may not be the only form of treatment that you receive. In some cases, you may also receive radiation therapy before or after your removal surgery. This helps to kill cancer cells or slow the growth of the tumor. Radiation can also be used as a primary treatment or combined with chemotherapy, as well.
To read our blog on when surgery is necessary for cancer, click here!
2. Preventative Surgery
As its name implies, preventative surgery is used to prevent cancerous cells from growing into a tumor. To do this, your surgeon will remove tissue that doesn’t have any cancerous cells. While healthy, this tissue is at a higher risk of developing cancer, making its removal a preventative measure.
One example of preventative cancer surgery would be the removal of colon polyps. These clumps of cells are often harmless but can become cancerous in some cases. Your surgeon may decide to remove the polyps in order to prevent colon cancer from developing further down the road.
Click here to learn more about colorectal cancer!
3. Diagnostic Surgery
Diagnostic surgery is one of the most important types of cancer surgery available. For starters, it helps your medical team determine whether you have cancerous cells living in your body. They do this by taking a piece of sample tissue from your body and having it evaluated in a lab. Once there, the pathologist will be able to determine if you have cancerous cells or not.
The benefits of diagnostic surgery don’t stop there. Not only will the pathologist be able to tell if you have cancer, but the type you have and what stage it’s currently at. This information can help your surgeon determine what types of surgery will be best for your case, as well as if radiation or chemotherapy will be necessary.
4. Staging Surgery
Staging surgery lets your medical team determine just how far cancer cells have progressed through your body. One way to do this is through laparoscopy, which is a key component of minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopes are tiny viewing tubes with a camera lens at the end. They give surgeons the ability to view inside your body without making large incisions.
Minimally invasive surgery works by making multiple small incisions in the body which are used for inserting surgical tools and the laparoscope. Unlike “open” surgery, which involves making one large incision, minimally invasive surgery reduces the risk of bleeding, pain during recovery, scarring, and infections.
To learn more about minimally invasive surgery, click here!
5. Debulking Surgery
Debulking surgery is used to reduce the size of a cancerous tumor without completely removing it. This can become necessary when removing the entire tumor may do more harm than good, such as damaging an organ or the body as a whole. As with other types of cancer surgery, radiation or chemotherapy may be used after your debulking surgery for further treatment.
6. Palliative Surgery
Both cancer and cancer treatments can be painful for patients. This is especially true for those in the advanced stages of cancer. With palliative surgery, these patients can experience an improved quality of life, especially when the cancer is no longer responding to treatment. This could be by removing a cancerous mass or by blocking nerves to reduce pain.
7. Supportive Surgery
As with palliative surgery, supportive surgery isn’t used by surgeons to actually remove the cancer. Instead, it assists other forms of cancer treatment and helps them work more effectively. For example, your surgeon may insert a catheter to aid in chemotherapy treatment. While surgically inserting the catheter itself doesn’t treat cancer, its overall effects do.
Do you want to learn more about the types of cancer surgery? Call us today at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231 to schedule your appointment!
There are many forms of cancer surgery that may be recommended to you. This includes removal surgery to remove the tumor as well as preventative surgery to prevent cancerous tumors from forming. Diagnostic surgery provides a diagnosis as well as establishes the type and stage of cancer. Similarly, staging surgery helps determine how far cancer cells have progressed. Debulking surgery is used to reduce the size of a tumor in order to preserve an organ. Palliative surgery is used to make patients feel more comfortable during the final stages and supportive surgery is used to help other surgeries work more efficiently.
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm if you would like to schedule an appointment.