Cancer Surgery

Physically removing cancer from the body.

Why going to China for cancer treatment?

Cancer surgery plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Let’s explore how surgery is utilized in caring for individuals with cancer.

When is cancer surgery needed?

Common reasons for cancer surgery include:

Cancer prevention, where certain organs are removed before cancer develops.

Diagnosis, where tissue samples are taken for testing to determine if cancer is present.

Staging, to assess the size and spread of the cancer and determine its severity.

Primary treatment, as surgery may be the main form of treatment for many cancers.

Debulking, when surgery removes as much cancer as possible; and Relieving symptoms or side effects, such as pain caused by cancer pressing on nerves or bones, or removing blockages in the intestine.

Surgery is frequently combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other therapies. The most suitable treatment plan for you will be determined by factors such as the type of cancer you have, its stage, and your overall health.

How is cancer surgery performed?

In cancer surgery, the primary objective is to completely remove the cancer from the body. This is achieved by the surgeon using cutting tools to excise the cancer along with some surrounding healthy tissue. Additionally, lymph nodes in the area may be removed and tested for the presence of cancer cells. If cancer is detected in the lymph nodes, there is a risk that it could spread to other areas of the body.

What other techniques are used in cancer surgery?

Numerous alternative surgical procedures are available for cancer treatment, with researchers constantly exploring innovative methods. Some additional types of cancer surgeries include:

  • Cryosurgery involves using extremely cold materials like liquid nitrogen or a cold probe to freeze and eliminate cancer cells.
  • Electrosurgery utilizes electric current to destroy cancer cells.
  • Laser surgery employs beams of light to reduce or eliminate cancer cells.
  • Mohs surgery meticulously removes cancer layer by layer, examining each thin layer under a microscope until all cancer is removed.
  • Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that uses small incisions, a camera, and surgical tools to remove cancer, leading to faster recovery and fewer post-surgery issues.
  • Robotic surgery allows surgeons to operate in hard-to-reach areas by controlling surgical tools through hand controls while viewing a 3D image on a screen.
  • Natural orifice surgery operates on organs in the abdomen without cutting through the skin, passing surgical tools through natural body openings like the mouth, rectum, or vagina.

As an example, a surgeon may insert surgical tools through the throat into the stomach, creating a small incision in the stomach wall to access the surrounding area. These tools can be used to obtain a liver tissue sample or perform a gallbladder removal. Natural orifice surgery represents an innovative approach that surgeons believe can reduce the risk of infection, pain, and post-surgery complications.

The field of cancer surgery is evolving, with researchers exploring additional less invasive surgical techniques.

What to expect from the surgery?

Preparing for and recovering from cancer surgery varies depending on the specific procedure. However, there are some common aspects to consider:

  • Getting ready: Expect to undergo various tests before surgery, such as blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, and imaging tests. These results help your surgeon plan the procedure and assess any potential risks associated with the surgery.
  • Anesthesia: Most surgeries require some form of anesthesia to manage pain. The type of anesthesia used will depend on the nature of the operation.
  • Recovery: Following surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for a period before being discharged. Your healthcare team will provide detailed instructions for your recovery, including wound care, dietary restrictions, activity limitations, and medication guidelines. It’s important to fully understand post-operative instructions and seek assistance if needed, especially if you have responsibilities caring for other family members.

What are the risks of cancer surgery?

The risks associated with cancer surgery can vary depending on the specific type of operation. Common risks include:

  1. Pain: Pain is a typical side effect of surgery, and your healthcare team will provide guidance on managing and minimizing pain, along with prescribing appropriate pain medications.
  2. Infection: Proper wound care instructions will be given to prevent infections, which can prolong recovery time. If an infection occurs, your provider may prescribe medication to treat it.
  3. Loss of organ function: In some cases, the removal of an organ may be necessary to treat cancer. While some remaining organs may function adequately post-surgery, there could be potential challenges, such as breathing difficulties after lung removal.
  4. Fatigue: Post-surgery fatigue and difficulty concentrating are common but typically improve over time.
  5. Bleeding: All surgeries carry a risk of bleeding, and it’s important to inform your provider about any medications you are taking that may increase this risk.
  6. Blood clots: Surgery increases the risk of developing blood clots, which can be serious. Your healthcare team will take precautions to minimize this risk, such as early mobilization and possibly prescribing blood-thinning medications.
  7. Altered bowel and bladder function: Immediately after surgery, you may experience issues with bowel movements or urination, which usually improve within a few days, depending on the type of operation.