Surgery has been an option since the time of Susrutha, who is the father of surgery and first to introduce techniques of basic surgery and painless procedures. As a treatment option, surgery could be the ultimate measure to treat underlying anatomical defects or pathological variations. For this reason, surgery is divided into three types as:

  1. Palliative surgery

  2. Reduction type surgery

  3. Therapeutic surgery

Palliative surgery

Palliative surgery is to reduce the signs and symptoms; it is called symptomatic surgical incision, such as in the case of osteotomy, jejunostomy, and ileostomy.

Reduction type surgery

Reduction type surgery usually reduces the large, bulky mass into smaller mass or masses and thereafter removing it by therapeutic surgery, for example radical surgeries.

Therapeutic surgery

Therapeutic surgery is the ultimate option to remove or eradicate the anatomical defect or pathological source that causes illness, such as in the case of an appendectomy.

Methodology for your cancer surgeries include:

  • Confirming the diagnosis through imaging, biopsy, etc.

  • Marking the area for radiation which prevents exposure of normal cells to radiation

  • Anesthesia to numb the pain

  • Surgical incision is made as per the surgeon’s preference and it also depends on various factors, such as type of cancer, grading, depth, etc.

Cancer surgeries can be frightening but be prepared with the following guidelines

  • It is widely used in various tumors as a therapeutic, palliative or reduction options as explained above. If you feel your chemotherapy and routine medicines are failing to act, then you may approach a surgeon for confirmation. However, a few considerations are to be kept in mind before undergoing surgery, such as your age, any complaints of diabetes and increased blood pressure, infections, bleeding disorders and systemic illnesses etc. Make sure to meet your surgeon before your cancer becomes mortal.

  • Cancer surgery is sometimes the option when all other options including chemotherapy and radiotherapy are failing and also in the final stage of the cancer. Be aware that it can be used as a prophylactic option. For example if you are diagnosed with adenomatous polyposis in your intestine, then ultimately your colon will need to be removed, if not, it can spread to the rectum.

  • Cancer surgery is therapeutic if the intension is to completely remove it as in the case of a benign (localized) mass, for example mastectomy or nephrectomy to completely cut off the communication of tumor cells with your healthy and normal cells. Therapeutic surgeries may be radical or complete. Radical surgery uses a technique called debulking where the large mass or bulk is scraped out to make it smaller and smaller, for instance as in a radical mastectomy. If the mass or breast itself is removed because of advancement of the illness, then it is classified as a complete mastectomy.

  • A cancer surgery sometimes is just a diagnostic tool to confirm the type of cells, nature of pathogenesis in your tumor mass, and which part or organ is involved. If your cancer mass is unpredictable in nature in terms of size and type, then staging needs to be identified. Staging surgery is a small incision and extraction of tissues affected.