Surgery can be performed for any of several reasons. It is often done to achieve more than one of these goals:

  • Preventive surgery is done to remove tissue that is not presently malignant (cancerous) but is likely to become malignant.
  • Diagnostic surgery is used to obtain a tissue sample to identify your specific cancer and make a diagnosis.
  • Staging surgery helps determine the extent and the amount of disease.
  • Curative surgery is done when there is hope of taking out all of the cancerous tissue.
  • Palliative surgery is used to treat complications of advanced disease and can also be used to correct a problem that is causing discomfort or disability.
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery is used to restore a person’s appearance or the function of an organ or body part following primary surgery.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure done to remove a tissue sample for diagnostic tests. Some biopsies may require surgery, but several types of biopsies can remove tumor samples through a thin neeule or an endoscope (a flexible lighted tube).

Should I Get a Second Opinion Before Surgery?

Some insurance companies require you to get a second opinion. You may not need to have tests done again because you can often bring the results of your original tests to the second doctor.

Check with your insurance company before proceeding with a surgery. Making an informed decision about your health is almost always better than making a quick one.