The Surgical Management of Cancer

To the extent that it "works" and achieves certain results, surgery is the oldest type of surgical management for cancer. In 1809 a modern practice started with successful removal of a tumor. Surgeon is responsible for timely diagnosis and staging of cancer. Delays will give poor surgical results. Nowadays surgical management of cancer has considerably improved. Doctors dealing with cancers and cancerous tumors are known as surgical oncologists.

As noted above the most important thing about surgical management of cancer is to diagnose and stage cancer in time. Due to technological back-up surgical oncologists use different tools and devices like sonography, mammography, endoscopy, etc. There are also different techniques used in surgical management of cancer. These are techniques of tumor resection, reconstructive techniques, and surgical palliation. Each of them has its advantages and drawbacks, some of them revolutionized oncosurgery.


Mammography is an X-Ray technique diagnosing breast cancer in pre-clinical stage. Ultrasonography is a non-invasive and absolutely safe technique. CT scan has revolutionized surgical management of cancerous tumor. Especially those in the cavities: skull, abdomen and thorax. MRI - magnetic resonance imaging is based on the effect of magnetic fields on spinning motion of nuclei in the cell tissue.

Traditionally oncosurgical resections are done with a scalpel. The operation resulted in a considerable blood loss. New technologies brought modern tools and devices like harmonic scalpel, based on the principle of vibration, Cavitron Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirator, which cut and aspirates at the same time. That allows oncologist to work at soft and delicate tissues with minimal blood loss. The rate of mortality has consequently dropped.

Mohs micrographic surgery is a unique technique of taking out small increments of tumor till the entire tumor is removed. The advantage of this technique is that each particle is frozen, so less harm is done to uninvolved tissue. Mohs technique proved effective in treatment cancers in the places where wide incisions are impossible. The use of microscope in surgical management of cancer is extremely important as it allows doctor correctly to localize and operate on the tumor.

The technique of surgical palliation also improved surgical palliation. Endoscopic stenting and laser coring can now easily bypass Luminal obstruction. Self-expanding metal stents proved effective and decreased the rate of procedural mortality. It made possible effective treatment of malignant dysphasia, tracheo-esophageal fistulae, and malignant esophageal perforation.

One of the most common forms of cancer is breast cancer (for women) and prostate cancer (for men). These forms of cancer can be diagnosed in pre-clinic state and their treatment will be relatively painless and easy.

Breast self-exam for women is the first form of diagnosis. Clinical diagnosis may take several weeks and involve a number of tests. Surgery remains the main means of beating the cancer. Due to new technologists it's possible to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. There are different terms describing the kinds of surgery: breast-conserving surgery (only the tumor is removed) and mastectomy (the whole breast removal).

Surgical management of prostate cancer is the best-performed means of treatment. There are several techniques used: retropubic prostatectomy, perineal prostatectomy and laparoscopic prostatectomy that depend upon the extent of the tumor and other conditions.

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