- Laser surgery
- How does surgery help to diagnose cancer?
- How is surgery used to treat cancer?
- Some common terms for surgical treatments
- Surgery for rehabilitation
- About anaesthetics
- Finding out more about your treatment
- What happens when you are admitted into hospital?
- What to expect after a major operation
- Returning home
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How is surgery used to treat cancer?
Surgery may be able to:
Cure a cancer by completely removing the cancer cells from the body. Cure may be possible if the cancer is confined to the organ in which it began and there is no evidence of spread to other tissues and organs.
Control a cancer by removing part of the tumour. Sometimes the entire tumour cannot be completely removed because it is situated near delicate structures of the body or because it is too widely spread. The remaining cells could be treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Control symptoms of the disease (palliation). Surgery may be able to remove a tumour or part of it that is painful or obstructing a vital organ like the bowel or lung. In this way normal function and comfort can be maintained for an extended period of time even if the cancer itself is not curable.
Rebuild tissues that have been altered or damaged due to the effects of cancer or cancer treatments. This is the purpose of reconstructive surgery.