Surgery is the preferred first method of intervention for all solid cancers. Surgery is generally recommended if the cancer is still localized (that is, it has not spread to other organs of the body). However, even for metastated (spread), surgery may still be needed. The tumor board takes final decision on surgery after comprehensive evaluation of expected results and risk factors.
Who does Cancer Surgery?
Cancer Surgery is done by Surgical Oncologists. Surgical Oncologists are specially trained surgeons who are adept at excision of cancerous tumors. However, not all surgical oncologists do surgeries for all types of cancer surgery. Very few surgeons have mastery over all forms of cancer surgeries. Generally Surgical Oncologists are expert at one or two of the following cancer type surgeries.
- Head, Neck & Thorax Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Gynaecological Cancer- Cancers of the female reproductive system like the Vagina, Uterus, Cervix, Vulva, etc.
- Urological Cancers- Kidney cancers, Prostate Cancers, Testicular Cancers, Bladder Cancers, etc
- Brain & Spine Cancers- Top Neurosurgeons who are experts are removal of cancerous brain and spine tumors)
- Musculo skeletal Cancers- Surgical Oncologists who are experts at treating bone cancers.
- Gasto Intestinal Cancers- Surgical Oncologists who are experts at surgeries of the GI tract.
It is very important that you do due diligence and get the surgery done by an expert surgeon because a successful surgical removal of tumor can play a big role in cancer remission.
Types of Cancer Surgery
There are two major ways in which cancer surgery is done. These are:
- Open Surgery- In this method, the surgeons mark the location of tumor through imaging tests and do a open cut to remove the tumor as much as possible. Open surgery takes more time to heal but can clear the tumor more perfectly,
- Minimally Invasive Surgery- Minimally Invasive surgeries are usually done using a Laparosope. A thin tube with a camera fitted at the end is inserted through one small cut and allows the surgeons to see the surgery location. Surgical instruments entered through one or more incisions help do the surgery. These days, robotic surgery is also being increasingly used specially for Neurosurgery and other complex surgeries.
When is surgery recommended in Cancer cases?
Surgery is generally recommended when the tumor is localized, that is, it has not spread to other organs. However, for certain types of cancers, surgery may be needed even when the tumor has spread. The decision is taken by the oncology team.