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What surgical treatments are available for cancer?

Surgery is often one of the first steps for many cancer patients. It can be used in obtaining a biopsy as part of the diagnosis, or it can be part of the treatment plan. Unlike radiation and chemotherapy, which destroy the cancer cells but leave them in the body, surgery tries to remove the cancerous tumor or tissues from the body. In many cases, lymph nodes found near the tumor are also removed to help determine if the cancer has spread. Depending on the type of cancer and its location in the body, different types of surgeons may be involved in your care. For example, a urologist would perform prostate surgery, while a thoracic surgeon would perform lung cancer surgery.

The advances in surgical technology in recent years have been significant. While not suited for every patient and every diagnosis, less-invasive approaches to surgery, which help patients recover faster, are used whenever appropriate. Robotic-assisted surgery may be available, which brings greater precision, less pain, and faster recovery to patients.

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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.