Cancer surgery can affect muscles, bones, nerves and organ systems, depending on what part of the body is operated on.
The risks of after effects of surgery have been reduced over the years. Less invasive surgery is now used for many types of cancer. This generally results in less scarring than what occurred in the past.
Possible after effects of surgery may include:
Scarring at the incision site and internally
Lymphedema or swelling of the arms or legs
Problems with movement or activity
Nutritional problems if part of the bowel is removed
Cognitive problems such as memory loss, learning, concentration
and processing information
Changes in sexual function and fertility
Pain that may be acute (sudden) long-term or chronic
Emotional effects that may be related to feeling self-conscious
about physical changes--even if the changes are not visible
Newer surgical methods generally help limit damage to normal tissues. Methods of reconstructive surgery can now help reduce noticeable physical changes. Even when a radical approach is needed, advances in surgical techniques and technology have dramatically reduced long-term effects.
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