Surgery is a common approach to cancer treatment, and surgical resection of a tumor can be performed for many types of cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the entire tumor or as much of the tumor as possible. While some tumors can be resected easily, others may be located in hard-to-reach locations. In these instances, the surgeon may have to remove the entire organ or even the surrounding structures to achieve the necessary tumor resection. Typically, the surgeon removes the tumor with a surrounding amount of normal, healthy tissue (called “surgical margin”) to increase the success of surgery. A “negative surgical margin” means that there was no cancer found in this surrounding area, and it is usually associated with a decreased chance of the the tumor coming back.
Tumor resection surgery can be used:
- Before chemotherapy or radiation. The goal of surgery is to fully remove a tumor. In cases where most — but not all — of a tumor can be resected, a surgeon might recommend surgical tumor resection before chemotherapy or radiation treatment so there is a smaller area to treat.
- After chemotherapy or radiation. If the tumor is deeply embedded in critical tissues or structures in the body, doctors may recommend chemotherapy or radiation first before surgery to shrink the tumor. An initial treatment prior to surgery may also make tumor resection surgery easier and often reduces the chance of tumor recurrence after surgery.
- As the only treatment. When the tumor hasn’t spread from its original location, the surgeon can sometimes remove the entire tumor and additional treatment isn’t necessary.
Though it’s not always a cure for cancer, tumor resection surgery can be effective at eliminating all or part of cancerous masses. Before surgery, imaging and tests are performed to help the surgeon have a clear view of where the tumor is in the body. Depending on the area affected by cancer and the size of the tumor, the cancer is removed using open or minimally invasive techniques.
Combining Compassion & Skill
Temple Health, in collaboration with Fox Chase Cancer Center, offers patients in the Philadelphia region access to some of the most experienced surgical oncologists. Working together with teams of multidisciplinary cancer specialists, our doctors provide a treatment plan for each patient that best matches his or her needs. We strive to offer patients the safest treatment possible while eliminating the cancerous cells.