Surgery is mainly used in order to diagnose, and treat cancer specific symptoms and cancer. To determine if a patient is a candidate for surgery or not, depends upon factors such as the type, size, location, grade, stage of the tumor, and the general health factors such as age, physical fitness and if the patient has other illnesses or conditions related to the same.
Surgery is something that is used to treat most cancer types. It is the best aid for solid tumors in a particular area. Surgery to treat cancer is a procedure in which the surgeon removes the cancer from one’s body. It is an option that helps to repair damage that occurs to skin, bones and other tissues caused by Cancer or the cancer treatment. Surgery is also a palliative treatment that helps to remove blockages in the lungs or throat eliminating tumors that cause pain.
For most patients, surgery is combined with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy that may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant) in order to help prevent cancer growth, its spread or recurrence of the same.
Surgery is basically suggested depending upon the type of cancer and its level of advancement. Most of the times:
- Surgery removes the entire tumor
- Surgery removes cancer that is contained in one area
- Surgery debulks a tumor
In some cases, surgery removes some, but not the complete cancer tumor. Debulking is used when removing an entire tumor, however, might damage an organ of the body. Sometimes, removing part of a tumor can help ease out cancer symptoms
Surgery is used to eliminate tumors that cause pain or pressures.
Surgeons are known for using small, thin knives, called as scalpels, and other
sharp tools to make the cuts into the specific part of the body during surgery. Surgery most often requires cuts through the skin, muscles, and at times bone. After the surgery, these cuts can turn out to be painful and can take some time to recover.
Anesthesia is used during the surgery to keep the patient away from feeling the pain. Anesthesia is all about drugs or other substances that let one’s body lose their feeling or awareness of happening.
Read along to know the three types of Anesthesia:
- Local anesthesia that causes loss of feeling in one small area of the body.
- Regional anesthesia causes loss of feeling in a part of the body, such as an arm or leg.
- General anesthesia causes loss of feeling and complete loss of awareness which seem to be like a person goes into a deep sleep.
Other ways of performing surgery without the involvement of cuts with scalpels include:
A type of treatment wherein extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen or argon gas is used to destroy abnormal tissues. Cryosurgery is used to treat early-stages of skin cancer, retinoblastoma, and precancerous growths on the skin and cervix. Cryosurgery is also named as cryotherapy.
Laser treatment has powerful beams of light used to cut through the tissues. Lasers are known to focus very accurately on tiny areas, hence they are used for precise surgeries.
These type of surgeries are used to lower or destroy tumors or growths that can turn into cancers. Lasers are often used in the treatment of tumors on the body surface or on the lining inside the internal organs. For example: basal cell carcinoma, cervical changes that might turn into cancer, and cervical, vaginal, esophageal, and non-small cell lung cancers.
A treatment type in which small areas of body tissues are exposed to high temperatures. This high heat damages and kills the cancer cells or makes them much sensitive to radiation and certain chemotherapy drugs. Radiofrequency ablation is a type of hyperthermia using high-energy radio waves in order to generate heat.
Photodynamic therapy is treatment type using drugs that react to a specific type of light. When the tumor is exposed to this light, these drugs become active and kill the nearby cancer cells. This therapy is mostly used to treat or relieve symptoms caused by skin cancer, mycosis fungoides, and non-small cell lung cancer.
Take a look at the side effects of treatment with surgery:
- Pain – caused post-surgery
- Appetite loss
- Swelling caused around the site of surgery
- Drainage from the site of surgery
- Bruises around the site of surgery
- Numbness and redness
- Bleeding around the area
When a cancer is diagnosed, people with cancer and their families need to make a number of decisions regarding the treatment. These decisions related to cancer treatment are personal, and one need to feel comfortable with the choices made. Many a times these decisions look complicated by anxiety, unfamiliar words, statistics, and a sense of urgency. Unless the situation is extremely urgent, take time to research best options, ask questions seek for the right answers and solutions, talk it out with family and close ones for the best conclusions related to cancer treatment.