Surgical Oncology

Surgical oncology is the area of cancer care that focuses on surgery to diagnose, stage, and treat the disease and manage certain cancer-related symptoms. However, surgical oncologists work with a multidisciplinary team of physicians and clinicians to combine surgery with other treatments and procedures needed through the patient’s comprehensive plan. Patient care also includes:

• the use of palliative interventions to control pain
• increasing the level of comfort
• improving the quality of life

Surgeon Dr. Pericles Chrysocheris specializes in surgical oncology and takes the time to discuss with each patient the diagnostic and treatment options available to them, addressing their questions and concerns.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as:

• the type
• the size
• the position
• the grade and
• the stage of the tumor

It also depends on general health factors such as age, physical condition and any co-existing conditions of the patient.

What is the goal of surgical oncology?

There are many reasons why someone may undergo oncology surgery. Surgical oncology can be used for:

• Cancer diagnosis (diagnostic surgery or biopsy).
• Removal of a tumor or part of the cancer (therapeutic or surgical tumor removal).
• Determining the location of the cancer, whether it has spread and whether it affects the functions of other organs (staging surgery).
• Removal of body tissue that may become cancerous (preventive surgery).
• Restoring the appearance or function of the body (reconstructive surgery).
• Relief from side effects (palliative surgery).

How is cancer surgery performed?

There are two main types of cancer surgery: open surgery and minimally invasive surgery.

In open surgery, the surgical oncologist will make a large incision, usually to remove all or part of a tumor, as well as some of the surrounding healthy tissue.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques may include:

Laparoscopy: A surgical oncologist will make several small incisions and insert a laparoscope into one of the incisions to have visual access inside the body, while inserting surgical instruments into the other incisions to remove malignancies and surrounding tissue.
Laser surgery: The surgeon will use a narrow beam of high-intensity light to remove a tumor.
Cryosurgery: The surgeon will use liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells.
Robotic surgery: This surgery is similar to a laparoscopic procedure. However, instead of operating surgical instruments by hand, the surgeon uses a computer console to operate the robotic instruments. Robotic surgery offers a much better view of the surgical field, as well as greater precision of movements of the surgical instruments and comfort for the surgeon performing the operation.

Other procedures, such as endoscopy, embolization, Mohs microsurgery, and pleuroscopy, may be performed by non-surgeons, including dermatologists, radiation oncologists, and interventional pulmonologists, depending on the procedure.

Nonsurgical treatments may be performed before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) or after surgery (adjuvant therapy) to help prevent the cancer from growing, metastasizing, or coming back. Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.

Surgical oncology: What side effects can occur?

As with general surgery, there can be complications arising from surgical oncology procedures.
Some of the common side effects of cancer surgery include:

• Contamination
• Swelling
• Fatigue
• Pain
• Lymphedema
• Motion sickness

In any case, finding the right oncology surgeon to minimize the side effects of the operation is the primary goal of every patient. Contact the specialized General Surgeon Pericles Chrysocheris, who together with his team of oncologists will guide you through every step of the procedure.