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An oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer and provides medical care for a person diagnosed with cancer. The field of oncology has three major areas: medical, surgical, and radiation. A medical oncologist treats cancer using chemotherapy or other medications, such as targeted therapy or immunotherapy.

What is Surgical Oncology?

Surgical Oncology is specialty that deals with the surgical treatment of a variety of tumors. There are a number of surgical techniques used to diagnose and manage cancer. Together, these treatments are known as surgical oncology.

Who is a Surgical Oncologist?

Surgical Oncologists are surgeons who specialize in treatment of specific types of cancer through surgical methods. They look for a relationship between the tumor excision and the risks presented by the primary tumor. Additionally, they are knowledgeable about cancer progression and therefore have the ability to care for patients in a more conservative way than other oncologists.

Surgeries under Surgical Oncology:


Under the branch of Surgical Oncology, a surgeon performs the following types of surgeries:

  1. Diagnostic surgery:
  2. This type of surgery is conducted to test whether a mass is cancerous or not. A small portion of the mass is extracted and tested to confirm the presence of cancer cells. This may be done by means of biopsy or FNAC.

  3. Supportive surgery:
  4. In certain cases, a surgery is needed before administering another cancer treatment. Such kind of surgery is known as supportive surgery.

  5. Staging surgery:
  6. This procedure helps in determining the stage of cancer, where it has spread and which body parts are affected.

  7. Curative surgery:
  8. This type of surgery is conducted to partially or completely remove cancer tumor(s).

  9. Palliative surgery:
  10. If a patient has an advanced cancer, in such cases a palliative surgery is done to ease pain and improve the quality of life.

  11. Restorative surgery:
  12. This is usually performed after a cancer treatment to return the body to its normal appearance.

  13. Preventive surgery:
  14. A proactive surgery, in this a surgical oncologist removes suspicious or precancerous tissues before they can become malignant. It is also used in patients that are at a high risk for developing cancer.