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All About Cancer Surgeries

It is possible to surgically remove the cancerous cells and the surrounding tissues in most types of cancers. A cancer surgery specialist or a surgical oncologist performs this type of surgery.

Cancer surgery is not the kind of procedure you can undergo at any clinic as a walk-in patient. There are many steps involved, right from preliminary tests, in-depth diagnosis to the actual surgery itself.

What are the Basic Things We Need to Know about Cancer Surgeries?

The procedure for removing cancerous tumors by incising the surrounding tissue is called cancer surgery. Surrounding tissues (called the surgical margin) are removed to prevent a recurrence.

Sometimes, cancer surgery is supported by radiotherapy and other non-invasive treatments. Cancer surgery hospitals typically have pre and post-surgical care units on their premises.

What are the Types of Cancer Surgeries?

These include:

  • Diagnostic cancer surgery
  • Preventive surgery
  • Curative surgery
  • Staging surgery
  • Debulking surgery
  • Supportive surgery
  • Restorative surgery
  • Palliative surgery

Some types of cancer surgeries are based on the method used. For example -

  • Electrosurgery
  • Microscopically controlled surgery
  • Laser surgery
  • Cryosurgery

Cancer surgeries can also be divided based on infectious organs:

  • Breast cancer surgery
  • Colorectal cancer surgery
  • Gallbladder cancer surgery
  • Oesophageal cancer surgery
  • Pancreatic cancer surgery
  • Thyroid cancer surgery
  • Prostate cancer surgery

Who Qualifies for Cancer Surgeries? Why Do We Need Them?

If the cancer is detected at an early stage, your chances of surviving increase. And the best way to do that is to understand its early symptoms. Following are some general signs that are associated with cancer. If you show these symptoms, it doesn't mean you have cancer, but you should get it checked by a specialist:

  • Persistent indigestion
  • Unexplainable pain
  • Unaccountable bleeding
  • Long-duration fevers
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Lumps under the skin
  • Changes in skin color
  • Sudden change in weight
  • Fatigue and trouble breathing

If the tests confirm the presence of cancerous tissues in your body, then a further treatment plan is devised depending upon the location, type, and spread. Not all cancers qualify for surgery. Many factors affect your suitability for cancer surgery. Your doctors will perform all the necessary tests to ensure that the surgery is a suitable treatment plan for you.

Following are some of the conditions that need to be fulfilled to qualify for cancer surgery:

  • The tumor should be accessible to the surgeon
  • The tumor should not be very close to the vital organs
  • There should be enough surgical margins
  • The patient's lung function test score should be within the acceptable range
  • The patient's blood should be clotting normally

When to Visit a Doctor for Cancer Surgery?

If you have persistent signs and symptoms associated with cancer, you need to visit a doctor, preferably a cancer specialist, for diagnosis. Even if you don't show symptoms but are worried due to family history or other factors, you can consult with a doctor and get screened.

For cancer surgery, you first have to go through many stages of diagnostic tests. From the first screening test to the most advanced cancer surgeries, you can get it all at Apollo Hospitals.

Request an appointment at Apollo Spectra Hospitals
Call 1860 500 2244 to book an appointment

Risk Factors Involved in Cancer Surgeries

Yes, cancer surgeries do have some risks associated with it. The risks and side effects vary with the procedure chosen for the case. In most cases, the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks. Also, all these risks can be managed with proper care.

The complications and risks involved may be attributed to the surgery itself, the drugs used, or your overall health. Minor surgeries like incisional biopsy usually have a lower risk than the more complex surgeries. Some side effects could occur during and after the surgery, usually not expected to be life-threatening.

You need to stay hospitalized to observe and deal with the risks and complications of the surgery. Some of these probable risks are listed here:

  • Pain: It is normal to have some pain at the surgery site, but if it is excessive and slows down your recovery, it needs to be managed.
  • Infections: Due to reactions to the drugs used or exposure to bacteria, infections may happen on surgical wounds. There is also a possibility of lung infection in patients who are smokers, have reduced lung function, or have chronic lung illness.
  • Bleeding: It can happen internally or externally if any blood is not sealed during the surgery or if the wound opens up. To avoid excessive bleeding, doctors test before surgery that your blood is clotting normally.
  • Blood clots: These can appear in your legs' deep veins due to being bedridden for a long duration.
  • Damage to nearby healthy tissue or organs: There is a risk of cutting too much healthy tissue during the surgery. If cancer spreads too close to the vital organs, there is always a risk of damaging the organs.
  • Reactions of the medication: Reactions to the anesthetic and antibiotics used during and after the surgery may cause breathing or blood pressure issues. Thus, all the relative parameters are closely monitored to prevent or curate these issues.

Benefits of Cancer Surgery

Removing the cancerous tumor surgically has its advantages over the other type of cancer treatments. Here are a few benefits of cancer surgery that makes it the first choice of treatment for tumors:

  • The removal of the tumor can reduce the symptoms and its effects instantly.
  • It is much more convenient for the patients compared to the painful and lengthy chemotherapy.
  • It can remove all the cancer cells that could be producing blood-borne stimulants that may cause cancer growth.
  • With surgery, we can remove the tumor that cannot be treated with radio or chemotherapy.
  • It provides you the ability to examine the cancerous tissue through biopsy.


Among the different treatment procedures for cancer, cancer surgery has proven to be an effective method to completely eliminate cancerous tumors. With proper preparation and post-surgical care, it is easy to mitigate the risks and side effects, if any.





Can all cancer be surgically removed?

In some cases, yes. In others, when the tumor is too close to a vital organ, we need to remove the tumor partially and deal with the remaining with radio or chemo.

Is surgery better than chemotherapy?

If the tumor is localized and accessible, surgery works better; if it's not, chemotherapy might work better than surgery.

Can cancer recur after surgery?

If some of the cancerous tissues remain unremoved, cancer may recur.

How to prepare for cancer surgery?

To stop going through cancer and the cancer surgery from being more painful than it is, you need to prepare for it. The first part of preparing for the surgery is to perform preoperative tests and the assessment. Along with the tests, you need to understand the risks and complications involved in the preparation. Your doctor would also advise you to take some precautions and give you some instructions to follow.

Is there any further treatment needed after cancer surgery?

For most cancer surgery procedures, further treatment would be just for recovering from the surgical wounds. In some cases, you also have to deal with the risks like bleeding and clots. For some other cases, the cancer surgery may need to be followed up with other therapies like chemo or radiotherapy.

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