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How Do Surgeons Operate Cancer?

In its list of leading causes of death, the World Health Organization states that cancer is the disease that kills the most people every year. It comes from genetic errors, chemical exposure, infections, and unhealthy habits.

Cancer can torture patients with severe pain for years, yet there is no definite cure against it. Fortunately, the surgical industry offers operations that can detect and treat cancer. These are called cancer surgeries.

Cancer surgeries aim to detect cancer locations, remove tumours, or restore the organs affected by this disease.

These are the types of surgical cancer treatment that hospitals provide:

Tumour removal surgery

Cancer is a disease caused by tumours, an abnormal clump of cells that divide uncontrollably.

Tumour removal surgery eliminates tumours and the surrounding tissues (also called margin). This way, the patient has a chance of becoming cancer-free.

In a typical removal operation, the surgeon makes wide incisions into the area with cancer. However, innovations in surgery brought minimally invasive procedures. These can help the cancer patient recover quicker and feel less pain:

  • Laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon makes small incisions to insert a laparoscope, a tube with instruments, a flashlight, and a camera. Through this technology, surgeons can quickly locate and treat the tumour.
  • Laser surgery. This type of operation uses intense light beams that can cut through tumours. Laser is precise and accurate, so this can strike cancers within the surface or the lining of delicate organs.
  • Cryosurgery. Surgeons that perform this apply liquid nitrogen or argon, both extremely frigid chemicals. These can destroy cancer tissues on the skin, retina, and cervix.

The counterpart of cryosurgery is hyperthermia. In this operation, the surgeons kill cancer cells with intensely hot radio waves. If the tumour survives, it will become more sensitive to radiation therapy and drugs. However, this treatment is still under research and experimentation.

  • Microscopically controlled surgery. This cancer operation involves shaving off layers of skin cancer with the help of a microscope.
  • Photodynamic therapy. Surgeons can kill cancer cells using drugs that are sensitive to specific light waves. This operation treats certain cancers of the skin, lymphatic system, and lungs.

Patients of tumour removal surgeries may also need radiation therapy and chemotherapy to fight the cancer cells.


In severe and late-stage cancer cases, the tumour has already grown and spread extensively. Because of this, removing it can only worsen the patient’s health.

During debulking operations, the surgeons strive to remove much of the tumour as much as possible. Then, the patient will go through chemotherapy or radiation therapy to suppress cancer growth.

Palliative surgery

Palliative surgery may also help patients with less hope of full recovery from cancer. Here, surgeons can at least lessen its side effects and pain through this kind of surgery.

For example, surgeons can relieve the patients’ pain by carving sections of the tumours that hit the spinal cord, the intestines, and other body parts. They can also control bleeding caused by tumours that affect blood vessels and delicate organs.

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