Surgical oncology is a field of medicine that uses surgery to treat cancer. Its main goal is to find harmful tumors in your body and remove them. Doctors who practice surgical oncology can also see if you have cancer or find out if the disease has spread to other parts of your body.
What does a surgical oncologist do? A surgical oncologist plays a vital role in providing multidisciplinary cancer care. They are trained to manage both simple and complex cases of primary and secondary cancer. Surgical oncologists have immense knowledge of cancer biology, imaging technologies, radiation therapy and chemical and biological therapy.
What Types of Cancer Do Surgical Oncologists Treat?
When Do You Need Surgical Oncology?
Surgical oncology can help people during the early stages of cancer or when the condition is more advanced. Some common reasons you might need this type of medicine are:
To prevent cancer. If you have a high risk of getting the disease in a certain part of your body, a surgical oncologist can do an operation to prevent it. They remove tissue in the area that’s precancerous or likely to become cancer. For example, some women who have a very strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and mutations in genes that are linked with the disease may work with a surgical oncologist to remove their breasts before cancer appears.
Surgical oncologists remove tumors to help rid your body of cancer cells. There are a few different types of surgeries:
- Curative: This procedure happens when you have a tumor in just one place and a surgical oncologist can remove all of it. You might need chemotherapy or radiation therapy before or after.
- Debulking: Oncologists use this surgery when it’s too dangerous to remove the whole tumor. They remove as much of it as they can and treat the rest with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Supportive: Your doctor might schedule this type of procedure to help other cancer treatments work well.