Surgery, in oncology, can be performed for several purposes depending on the clinical situation:
It concerns the removal of all those benign alterations that have high malignant transformation power. A typical example of preventive surgery is the removal of intestinal polyps which are considered to be a precancerous condition.
This preventive surgery can also be performed to remove an organ when there is a strong genetic component for the development of a neoplasm there. For example, the presence of the mutation in the BRCA-1 and 2 genes leads to a high probability of developing breast and ovarian cancer, therefore in some cases it may be decided to remove these organs preventively and before the onset of the disease. However, each case is separate and must always be carefully evaluated by a team of specialists.
- Radical therapeutic
It provides for the complete removal of the tumor mass and a part of the neighboring tissues (for example the lymph nodes) and is performed when the tumor is well localized and there are no metastases. It is also called curative surgery.
- Reductive therapeutic
It is performed when the tumor mass is too large and cannot be treated directly with chemo-radiotherapy. It aims to reduce the size of the tumor so as to make the residue more attackable by subsequent therapies.
- Palliative therapy
It is performed in patients who have a lifespan of a few years without the possibility of complete recovery. The aim is not to increase the patient’s survival, but to improve the patient’s condition, quality of life and duration of benefits.
It is performed to obtain tissue fragments (biopsy) on which the histological examination will be carried out. The histological analysis is necessary to have diagnostic certainty and to correctly assess the stage of the lesion.