Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation. Different types of surgery are used depending on the type of cancer, where it is located, and the goals of surgery. Some types are also less invasive and have a shorter recovery time. Surgery is the oldest type of cancer therapy and remains an effective treatment for many types of cancer . The goals of surgery vary. It is often used to remove all or some of the cancerous tissue after diagnosis. However, it can also be used to diagnose cancer, find out where the cancer is located, whether it has spread, and whether it is affecting the functions of other organs in the body. In addition, surgery can be helpful to restore the body’s appearance or function (reconstructive surgery).
Some surgery is performed to reduce the risk of developing cancer. For example, the removal of precancerous polyps in the colon to prevent colon cancer. In addition, women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancers or known mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast and ovarian cancer genes may decide to have a mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast, or an oophorectomy, which is the removal of the ovaries, to lower the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer in the future.
The common cancers where surgery forms the main modality of treatment are cancer breast, brain tumors, sarcomas and GI malignancies.