Tumor removal

November 12, 2012

Tumor removal

Tumors are abnormal growths that can be either benign or cancerous. There are 4 methods of tumor removal; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and biological therapy.

Overview

Benign tumors are not able to spread but may continue to grow until they are removed. Tumor removal in the case of benign tumors is usually surgical. Malignant or cancerous tumors however have the potential to spread to other parts of the body if they are not promptly treated or removed. The kind of tumor removal method used in the case of cancerous tumors depends on a variety of factors but may be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or biological therapy. In some cases a combination of tumor removal methods are used, the common one being surgery combined with either chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In some cases surgery alone will cure the cancer so surgery is used to remove as much as possible, making it smaller and therefore making radiation therapy or chemotherapy more effective. Surgery may also be required to allow the surgeon to properly assess the extent and size of the tumor. A sample may be taken for examination under a microscope so that the exact type and nature of the cancer can be determined. This will give doctors a better idea of how best to proceed.

Staging cancer

Staging is a term that refers to the process where cancers are compared against each other in order for an appropriate treatment or tumor removal plan can be determined. During this process the likely outcome will also be estimated. The most common staging method is known as the TNM system. The T is for tumor and focuses on its size, the N refers to whether or not the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and the M stands for metastasis and refers whether or not the cancer has spread and if so how far.

Who is affected?

In the United States alone there are an estimated one million cases of cancer diagnosed every year. Although people of all ages can be affected, over 70% of cases affect men and women over the age of 55. All races are affected by cancer although there may be some differences in the most common types of cancer that affect people of different races. Men are affected slightly more commonly than women with 1 in 2 men diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime compared to 1 in 3 women.

Prognosis

The prognosis of a tumor removal can vary greatly and depends in a large number of factors. The size and nature of the tumor will determine the outlook of a patient and in some cases tumor removal is done to relieve the patient of symptoms rather than as a cure. As with all surgical procedures there is always a risk of complications such as excessive bleeding and infection. Additionally it is possible that the cancer has spread further than first thought. In the case of benign tumors being surgically removed the success rate is very high.

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