cancer surgery

Two out of three people with cancer will have some type of surgery. There are many different types of surgeries for cancer, including:

  • Preventive surgery that keeps cancer from occuring. Examples include removing a suspicious mole to prevent skin cancer or removing suspicious polyps from the colon during or after a colonoscopy.

  • Diagnostic surgery that removes part of a tumor or an entire tumor for examination to see if it is cancerous.

  • Staging surgeries are used to determine the extent of cancer and are usually minimally-invasive. Often laparoscopic surgery is used, but sometimes these types of surgeries can be performed without an incision; instead using a natural body opening to allow tiny cameras inside. These cameras can show the surgeon any areas of suspicion.

  • Curative surgery removes a cancerous tumor. It can cure cancers that have not spread to other areas of the body, and is often followed by radiation or chemotherapy to ensure all cancercous cells are destroyed.

  • Other surgeries include supportive surgeries that help with cancer treatment, like surgically inserting a port, or palliative surgeries that are used to ease pain or disabilities related to cancer. Palliative surgeries aim to improve quality of life, but do not cure the cancer. One advanced palliative surgery performed at St. Francis is the HIPEC procedure, which opens the abdomen to allow chemotherapy to "bathe" the organs and destroy cancer cells in abdominal areas to which they have spread.

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