Cancer surgery removes the tumor and nearby tissue during an operation. A doctor who treats cancer with surgery is called a surgical oncologist. Surgery is the oldest type of cancer treatment. And it is still effective for many types of cancer today.
There are many reasons to have surgery:
To diagnose cancer
To remove all or some of a cancer
To find out where the cancer is located
To find out if the cancer has spread or is affecting the functions of other organs in the body
To restore the body's appearance or function
To relieve side effects.
You may have surgery in a doctor's office, clinic, surgery center, or hospital. Where you have surgery depends on the type of surgery and how much time you need to heal from it. Inpatient surgery means that you need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer to recover after the surgery. Outpatient surgery means that you do not need to stay overnight in the hospital before or after surgery.
Types of surgery
Diagnostic. For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the main way to diagnose cancer. During a surgical biopsy, the surgeon makes a cut, called an incision, into the skin. Then, he or she removes some or all of the suspicious tissue.
There are 2 main types of surgical biopsies:
An incisional biopsy removes a piece of the suspicious area to study.
An excisional biopsy removes the whole suspicious area, such as a mole or a lump.