We provide professional support in Cancer Surgery.
Cancer is a condition that is characterized by abnormally growth
and division of cells and ability to live when healthy cells die. Continuous
growth and division lead to accumulation of those abnormal cells, resulting in
formation of a mass or a lump.
Primary cancer implies cancers that originate from tissues or
cells of an organ, while metastatic cancer refers a cancer that develops in a
particular organ or tissue and spreads to nearby or distant organs.
Cancer surgery points out the operative removal of the tumor
that has developed in various organs or tissues of the body.
Cancer surgery can be considered from two perspectives depending
on the aim of the surgery (primary treatment, diagnosis, staging and reducing
size of the tumor – debulking) and the methods used.
Although the primary goal is the complete removal of the tumor
from the organ or the tissue, possible options include complete or partial
removal of an organ. Moreover, if your surgeon decides that surgery is
indicated, it is also possible to aim reducing the size of a very large tumor
by removing the tumor as much as possible (debulking). Therefore, although the
major goal of the cancer surgery is the “primary treatment”, it may also serve
to diagnose and/or stage the tumor and/or to relieve symptoms (palliative care)
as well as combinations thereof.
Presence of a tumor can be identified by physical examination,
health history, family history, laboratory tests (blood, urine and body
fluids), genetic tests, imaging methods and other advanced examinations.
However, it may not be possible to take a biopsy specimen or a biopsy specimen
taken in operation, as surgery is already a necessity in treatment of a tumor.
Thus, the intraoperative material is examined in a pathology laboratory and
histopathological diagnosis of the tumor is made.
Each tumor is staged according to its size, local or distant
metastasis and involvement of lymph nodes. The stage of the tumor not only
shows how much the tumor spread, but it also guides the treatment. On the other
hand, your surgeon can obtain data about the tumor, such as size of tumor and
involvement of nearby tissues and lymph nodes, in an operation in addition to
the location of tumor. Consequently, the tumor stage determined by preoperative
workup can be verified or amended in an operation.
Finally, if your health history and/or family history points to
high risk for a certain cancer, cancer surgery can be considered based on your
request or your surgeon’s advice (e.g. breast cancer, colorectal cancer, etc.)
The method used for cancer surgery is determined according to
many factors. These include general health condition of the patient, location and
size of the tumor, equipment available in the healthcare facility, and training
and experience of the surgeon.
Conventional open surgery, laparoscopic surgery or robotic
surgery can be used to remove the cancer. The tumor and a part of healthy
tissue around the tumor are removed, while it is also possible to kill cancer
cells using very-high or very-low heat or electric energy. The method that will
be used in the surgery requires a meticulous preoperative assessment.
Although preoperative preparation is broadly same after cancer
surgery is decided, a very unique surgical plan is made for each tumor. After
the cancer is diagnosed with physical examination, blood and urine tests,
advanced laboratory tests and imaging methods and the location is determined,
your surgeon may require additional tests to assess potential risks.
An anesthesiologist will preoperatively evaluate you in order to
minimize possible postoperative problems. In this evaluation, the type of
anesthesia is decided that will be used in the surgery.
Your surgeon and your anesthesiologist will make a series of
advices in order to manage intraoperative risks and maximize postoperative
comfort. The most important one is to quit smoking. On the other hand, the
prescription and over-the-counter medicines and herbal products and vitamin
supplements you use will be carefully reviewed and you will be informed about
the medications you need to stop taking before the surgery.
You will also be instructed to stop eating and drinking at a
particular time before the surgery and you should strictly follow this
instruction in order to undergo the surgery at the scheduled date.
The risks of the cancer surgery depend on multiple factors, such
as type and location of tumor and the surgery, and almost each type of surgery
poses unique risks. In addition, common risks that can be faced after almost
all operations include pain, infection, fluid accumulation (seroma) or blood
accumulation (hematoma) at the incision site, bleeding and formation of blood
Although all possible measures that modern medicine allows are
taken to prevent occurrence of risks, it is no means possible to warrant that
the risks will be completely eliminated.
Your surgeon will explain in detail whether those risks apply to
you or if so, the rate of occurrence.
Ask all your questions to your surgeon and other relevant
healthcare practitioners before the cancer surgery in order to alleviate your
concerns about the operation and make realistic expectations regarding results
of the surgery.