New Surgical Treatments for Cancer Care

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Cancer surgery is a very broad subject. It covers all the different types of surgeries for cancer. Most common types of cancer in the United States are breast, and colon, and lung. But there are also many other subtypes. And based on the type of cancer, that will determine the type of surgery. The biggest advances in the types of surgery that we do for cancer surgery have changed significantly in the last 5 to 10 years. And I like to break them down to the three T's, which include the timing of surgery, the techniques used for surgery, and the different technologies.

We talk about timing. It involves the role for different types of therapies that coordinate with surgery. For example, chemotherapy is said to be involved with surgery either before or after surgery. The different types of radiation can be used before and after surgery. When we talk about technique, we talk about whether we need to get margins that are negative. Meaning the entirety of the specimen is removed or if it's safe to leave a little bit of cancer behind. Obviously, we'd like to remove all of the cancer when possible. But there's some types of cancers where that's not possible.

And so that's where the technique comes into play. Also, with technique is the different types of modalities for surgery. When we talk about modalities for surgery, a lot of the time we're talking about minimally invasive surgery. That can be sometimes laparoscopic or that can sometimes even mean robotics. People hear robotic and they oftentimes think that a robot is actually doing the surgery. And that's actually not true.

Robotic surgery just means that there's technology that we use, which ties into the mix of technology. But the technology helps us to have better tools for removing specific types of tumors. With robotic surgery, we're specifically talking about stabilization, and visualization, and magnification, removing different types of tumors through very specific high end instrumentation. And that also has some overlap with technology for where we are advancing and the different types of cancer surgery.

And with technology, it doesn't just mean robotic and laparoscopic, but it also means different therapies that we can give to avoid surgery. We can coordinate with radiologists and oncologists for treating cancer to hopefully avoid surgery. But that obviously is important because we need to coordinate that with surgeons like myself, so that we can offer the best outcomes for patients based on their specific type of cancer diagnosis.