Surgery is an operation to repair or remove part of your body to diagnosis or treat a condition. It remains the foundation of cancer treatment. Your doctor may use cancer surgery to achieve any number of goals, from diagnosing your cancer to treating it to relieving the symptoms it causes. Cancer surgery may be your only treatment, or it may be supplemented with other treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Cancer surgery may be used to achieve one or more goals including:
Primary treatment. For many tumors, surgery is the best chance for a cure, especially if the cancer hasn’t spread (localized). If your doctor believes your cancer hasn’t spread, surgery may be recommended as your primary treatment to remove the cancerous tumor.
Relieving symptoms or side effects. Sometimes surgery is used to improve your quality of life rather than treat the cancer itself, e.g., to relieve pain caused by a tumor that’s pressing on a nerve or bone. Another example might include removing a tumor that’s obstructing your intestine.