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Surgical Oncology

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.
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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, surgerive treatment to patients who are obliged to lie still for long periods of time.

Postoperative pain control

There are various types of oncology surgery depending on the objective of the procedure. They fall under the following categories : Diagnostic surgery, Prophylactic or preventive surgery, Curative surgery, Tumour reduction surgery or surgical cytoreduction, Reconstructive or restorative surgery, Palliative surgery, Surgery for secondary cancers or metastases, Surgery to support treatment.

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Today, several surgical techniques are used : Conventional open surgery, Endoscopic or minimally invasive surgery, Laser surgery, Robotic surgery.

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The following is an overview of preparing for all types of surgery, oncological or otherwise.

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Postoperative care begins at the end of the operation and continues in the recovery room or day surgery room, as appropriate, throughout hospitalization and continues during the return home and recovery period.

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To find out more

To obtain more detailed information on surgical oncology and some tips on how to feel better, call the Info-cancer Hotline at 1-800-363-0063 to talk to a nurse or documentalist.

Borrow one or more books on the subject free of charge from our Info-cancer Library (available in French only).

Cancer treatments


Managing side effects of cancer and treatments

Cancer treatments are often accompanied by side effects, which manifest as symptoms of physical, and even psychological, discomfort.

Precautions to take when one has cancer

While cancer treatments are essential to allow the patient to confront this health challenge, they can unfortunately result in a weakened immune system.


Immunotherapy is a treatment or intervention designed to help the body’s immune system fight cancer. It does not directly attack cancer cells but focuses instead on helping other cells - called immune cells - detect and destroy cancer cells.


Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, that is to say, it can reach all parts of the body and destroy cancer cells, even microscopic ones, wherever it finds them.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is a treatment that changes the level of hormones in the body.
Personne recevant de la radiothérapie comme traitement contre un cancer


Radiation therapy involves the use of X-rays, gamma rays, electrons and other forms of high-energy radiation. The treatment is painless and does not last long, from one to five minutes. In fact, the waiting and preparation phases often take longer than the treatment itself, about 10 to 15 minutes.