Updated on: Sep 14, 2022

Cancer Surgery

Surgery is a medical procedure to examine, remove or repair tissue (Canadian Cancer Society).

Surgery is the most common way to treat cancer and is often the first step in diagnosis and treatment for a patient. Certain types of cancer may only need surgery, while other types might need surgery plus another type of treatment (chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy).

You might have surgery if your Oncologist or Surgeon needs to look at, remove or repair tissue.

Surgery can:

  • Prevent cancer
  • Diagnose and stage cancer
  • Remove cancer
  • Help relieve symptoms from cancer
  • Repair damaged tissue
  • Lower the chance of cancer recurrence (cancer coming back)
  • Support other treatments for your cancer (e.g. chemotherapy, radiation)

How Surgery Is Used for Cancer

Surgery is used to prevent, diagnose, stage, and treat cancer. Surgery can also relieve (palliate) discomfort or problems related to cancer. Sometimes, one surgery can take care of more than one of these goals. In other cases, different operations may be needed over time. You will find specific cancer operations discussed in treatment information for each cancer type. (Information adopted from the American Cancer Society)

Surgery Facts

  • Surgeons (doctors that are trained to do surgery) will do their best to limit damage to your body or tissues during surgery. This helps to lower the amount of stress your body goes through

Websites for Cancer Surgery Information

All of the links below will open in a new window.

Acs Surgery
Handout about surgery from the American Cancer Society

Surgery - American Cancer Society