Scientific Sessions

Surgical Oncology

Surgery is the primitive form of cancer treatment, and for most patients, part of the curative plan includes surgery. The goals of the surgical oncologist are to remove cancer and an area of healthy tissue surrounding it, also known as a clear margin or clear excision, to avert cancer from recurring in that area. Sometimes it is not possible to remove the whole tumor, and a surgery known as "debunking" is done to remove as much of the tumor as possible and to relieve indications such as airway obstruction, pain, or bleeding. However, the influence of the surgical oncologist goes beyond what is done on the day of surgery itself. As part of the multidisciplinary care team, he or she provides expert opinion about biopsy techniques, optimal image guidance, the likelihood of achieving clear margins, and what role there is if any for surgical management of a more advanced disease.