Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
A tumor is an abnormal growth caused by the uncontrolled division of cells. Benign tumors do not have the potential to spread to other parts of the body (a process called metastasis) and are curable by surgical removal. Malignant or cancerous tumors,...
however, may metastasize to other parts of the body and will ultimately result in death if not successfully treated by surgery and/or other methods.
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This stylized animation shows what a cell might look like at very high magnification. It begins by showing the cell membrane and the proteins that hold the cell together. The video continues to describe the internal workings of a cell. While the narration is very detailed and accurate, this video may use terminology that is advanced for a general audience.
Tumor removal is a surgical procedure to remove an abnormal growth.
A tumor can be either benign, like a wart, or malignant, in which case it is a cancer. Benign tumors are well circumscribed and generally are easy to remove completely. In contrast, cancers pose some of the most difficult problems in all of surgery.
Currently 40% of all cancers are treated with surgery alone. In 55% of cases, surgery is combined with other treatments - usually radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
The doctor needs to decide if surgery should be done at all. Because cancers spread (metastasize) to normal tissues, sometimes at the other end of the body, the ability of surgery to cure must be addressed at the outset. As long as the cancer is localized, the initial presumption is that cure should be attempted by removing it as soon as possible.
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