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Cancer Surgery

If you are at risk for cancer, have a suspected cancer, or have a diagnosed cancer, you may need some type of surgery. Your care team will discuss when you need surgery and what your options are so that you can decide what is best for you.

Purposes of cancer surgery

  • To prevent cancer: If you have a high risk of developing cancer in an area, you may have that area removed before cancer develops.
  • To diagnose cancer: During a biopsy, your doctor removes a small amount of tissue to see if cancer is present and what type of cancer it is.
  • To stage cancer: Surgery allows your doctor to determine the size of your tumor and whether the cancer has spread.
  • To treat cancer: Surgery may remove all or part of the cancer. It may be used alone or with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • To relieve problems caused by cancer: Palliative surgery can make you more comfortable and treat problems caused by cancer, such as bleeding or blockage.
  • To reconstruct an area after cancer treatment: When certain tumors are removed, a surgeon may need to fill in the area. For example, when removing a bone tumor, the area of cancerous bone removed needs to be replaced with an implant or another bone-like material.

Types of cancer surgery

  • Minimally invasive surgery: Your surgeon will make the smallest cuts possible to access the cancerous area. This type of surgery can make your recovery easier after surgery.
    • Laparoscopic surgery: Several small incisions are made to insert a camera and surgical tools.
    • Robotic surgery: A type of laparoscopic surgery where the surgeon controls a robot to maneuver the surgical tools inside the body. Robotic surgery helps surgeons access hard-to-reach areas.
  • Ablative surgery: Different types of energy or temperature extremes are used to destroy cancer or precancerous cells.
  • Traditional surgery: Your surgeon makes a larger incision to perform the operation. For some patients, this is the best treatment for the cancer.

Why choose Rush for cancer surgery

  • Surgeons at Rush offer many minimally invasive surgical procedures that result in less pain, less scarring and a faster recovery as compared to traditional techniques.
  • The Rush University Cancer Center was awarded a 2011 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. Rush has received this triennial award each of the three times the Medical Center has been evaluated by the Commission on Cancer since the award was established.
  • Rush received an A grade for patient safety in a nationwide evaluation of hospitals by the Leapfrog Group, a national not-for-profit organization that promotes health care safety and quality improvement. The new Hospital Safety Score represents Rush's overall performance in keeping patients safe from medical and medication errors, infections and injuries.
  • Patients can receive care through the Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Cancer Clinics, which bring together a team of cancer experts to determine the best treatment for your cancer.