- Learning about cancer surgery
- How is surgery used for cancer?
- Surgery to diagnose and stage cancer
- Special surgery techniques to treat cancer
- Questions to ask your doctor about cancer surgery
- What will surgery for cancer be like?
- Planning and preparing for cancer surgery
- During the operation
- Recovery from cancer surgery
- Going home after cancer surgery
- What are the risks and side effects of cancer surgery?
- When to call your doctor after cancer surgery
- Does surgery cause cancer to spread?
- Some things to remember about cancer surgery
Some things to remember about cancer surgery
The best chance of a cure from many types of cancer is to remove all of the cancer as soon as possible after diagnosis. If you have a solid tumor, sometimes surgery alone will cure the cancer, but you might need chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other treatment, too. Your health care team will discuss your best treatment options with you.
If you have any concerns about surgery or cancer, discuss this issue with the people who know your situation best – your surgeon and other members of your cancer care team.
You can also call us at 1-800-227-2345 any time you have questions or need help. The American Cancer Society has information, resources, and support available on many cancer-related topics.
Cancer terms you might hear
Here are keys to help you say the cancer terms used here. The words are in ABC order:
anesthesia = AN-es-THEE-zhuh
anesthesiologist = AN-es-THEE-zee-AHL-uh-jist
aspiration = ASP-er-AY-shun
autologous transfusion = aw-TAHL-uh-gus trans-FEW-zhun)
biopsy = BY-op-see
colonoscopy = KO-lun-AH-skuh-pee
colostomy = kuh-LAHS-tuh-mee
cryosurgery = CRY-o-SUR-juh-ree
curative = KUR-uh-tiv
cytoreductive = SY-toe-ree-DUK-tiv
endoscope = EN-doe-scope
endoscopy = en-DAHS-kuh-pee
endotracheal = EN-doe-TRAKE-ee-ul
impotence = IM-puh-tense
incision = in-SIH-zhun
incisional biopsy = in-SIH-zhun-ul BY-op-see
incontinence = in-KON-tuh-nense
intraoperative = IN-truh-OP-er-ah-tiv
laparoscope = LAP-uh-ruh-scope
laparoscopic = LAP-uh-ruh-SKAH-pick
laparotomy = LAP-uh-ROT-uh-mee
mastectomy = mas-TEK-tuh-mee
mediastinoscopy = ME-dee-uh-stin-AH-skuh-pee
ostomy = OS-tuh-mee
palliative = PAL-ee-uh-tiv
photoablation = FOE-toe-uh-BLAY-shun
photocoagulation = FOE-toe-ko-ag-you-LAY-shun
pneumonia = new-MOAN-yuh
polyps = PAH-lips
prophylactic = PRO-fuh-LACK-tik
radical prostatectomy = RAD-ick-uhl PROS-tuh-TECK-tuh-mee
thoracoscope = thor-ACK-uh-scope
thoracoscopic = thor-ACK-uh-SKAH-pick
thoracoscopy = THOR-uh-KAH-skuh-pee
thoracotomy = THOR-uh-KOT-uh-mee
To learn more
More information from your American Cancer Society
The following related information may also be helpful to you. These free materials may be ordered from our toll-free number, 1-800-227-2345, or read online at www.cancer.org.
Talking about and coping with cancer
After Diagnosis: A Guide for Patients and Families (also in Spanish)
Helping Children When a Family Member Has Cancer: Dealing With Treatment (also in Spanish)
Talking With Your Doctor (also in Spanish)
Nutrition for Children With Cancer (also in Spanish)
Sexuality for the Man With Cancer (also in Spanish)
Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer (also in Spanish)
More on other aspects of cancer surgery
Other cancer treatment options
A Guide to Chemotherapy (also in Spanish)
Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families (also in Spanish)
Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know (also in Spanish)
Work and finance information
Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient (also in Spanish)
In Treatment: Financial Guidance for Cancer Survivors and Their Families (also in Spanish)
Americans With Disabilities Act: Information for People Facing Cancer (also in Spanish)
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (also in Spanish)
What Is COBRA? (also in Spanish)
Your American Cancer Society also has books that you might find helpful. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit our bookstore online at www.cancer.org/bookstore to find out about costs or to place an order.
National organizations and websites*
Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support include:
American College of Surgeons
Patient education website, “Surgical Patient Education Program” can be found at: www.facs.org/patienteducation. It has information that can help surgical patients and their families learn about operations and surgical care, find a surgeon, and better prepare for surgery.
National Cancer Institute
Toll-free number: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Provides accurate, up-to-date information on many cancer-related topics to patients, their families, and the general public
No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for cancer-related information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Last Medical Review: 09/03/2014
Last Revised: 09/29/2014