Cancer

Normally, your body's cells grow in a controlled manner. They divide when necessary and die when they have divided too many times or when they are damaged.

However, when cells in healthy tissue multiply abnormally, this leads to the formation of a mass called a tumour. There are two types of tumours: benign tumours and malignant or cancerous tumours.

Oncology is the medical discipline devoted to the study of these tumours. In order to treat cancer patients, physicians must receive specialized training in oncology. The role of an oncologist is to make a diagnosis, propose the appropriate treatment (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy and targeted drugs) and monitor the evolution of the illness.

Benign tumours

Benign tumours are not cancerous. They tend to develop slowly and remain in the same place, compressing the surrounding tissue without spreading to other parts of the body. They are rarely life threatening and will heal after removal without risk of recurrence.

Malignant or cancerous tumours

The cells of a cancerous tumour have the ability to spread to other tissues through the blood or lymphatic vessels to form new tumours called metastases. Malignant tumours are poorly defined and can attain a very large volume. Consequently, they are more difficult to remove than benign tumours, and the risk of recurrence is far higher.

How can cancerous tumours be detected?

The purpose of screening is to attempt to detect cancer even before tangible symptoms appear. The earlier the tumour is detected, the more effective the treatment will be.

There are several screening tests, such as mammography for breast cancer, the fecal occult blood test for colorectal cancer, or the Pap test for cervical cancer. However, the only sure way to diagnose a cancer tumour is by performing a biopsy and analyzing the sample for the presence of cancer cells.

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Surgical Oncology

Surgical oncology is the branch of surgery concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It is the oldest form of cancer treatment.

Oncology surgery includes all the surgical procedures required by those suffering from cancer:
 
Investigation – making a medical assessment in situations in which cancer is suspected
Diagnosis – specifying the type of cancer (biopsy)
Stage – determining the stage of the disease
Treatment – curing or relieving the symptoms of cancer 

The surgical treatment of cancer is the result of a multidisciplinary approach: all the specialists involved in cancer diagnosis and treatment participate in choosing the best treatment.

Accordingly, oncology surgeons are part of a multidisciplinary team made up of several professionals. They are all required to have specialized training and expertise in oncology.

Since it is a “local” treatment, surgery can be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

 

Sources

Surgery in cancer treatment
Cancer Surgery
Surgery to Treat Cancer

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