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How is surgery used in oncology?

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery

Oncology is the field of medicine dedicated to the study of cancer. Surgical oncology is a field of surgery in which the surgeon has a focus on the principles of cancer disease process, staging, progression, etc.

Most cancers actually have surgery as the forefront of management and use chemotherapy and radiation as adjunctive therapies.

Surgery is used in various ways to treat cancer. If the cancer type is curable then surgery is used to completely remove it and to provide information on how advanced it is i.e. to stage it. If the cancer is incurable then surgery is used to reduce the symptoms associated with the cancer. Surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiation are the main tools that we currently use to treat cancer.

Surgery is often used in oncology as a primary method of cancer treatment. However, surgery also has other uses in oncology. If your doctor believes you are at risk for developing a specific type of cancer, surgery may be used to help prevent its occurrence. Surgery can help your doctor diagnose your cancer and stage it, or determine how advanced it is. If your doctor is unable to remove all of your tumor, surgery may still help to reduce the size of the tumor and make other treatments, like chemotherapy, more effective. Surgery is sometimes used in oncology to treat the symptoms of cancer, even when the cancer cannot be cured.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.