About cancer surgery
For many people who have cancer, surgery to remove a cancerous tumor is the first recommended treatment.
In some cases, surgery alone can completely rid the body of cancer, especially for early-stage disease. A cancer treatment plan may also include some combination of surgery, anti-cancer drugs (such as chemotherapy) and radiation oncology therapies.
Cancer surgery: What to expect
All cancers act differently. Our cancer specialists care for people with a wide range of common and rare cancers. We work in teams to personalize your treatment recommendations and provide the right care for you.
Surgical oncologists, who have particular training in cancer surgery, often perform surgery to remove cancerous tumors. Doctors also do surgery for other reasons, such as to prevent cancer, relieve pain or restore your function or appearance after cancer treatment.
How to talk to your doctor about cancer surgery
If your doctor recommends surgery, you may have many questions. Our team will sit down with you to explain everything you need to know about a procedure, including how it could affect you now and in the future.
We welcome your questions at any point during your care. Our team members make themselves available to address your concerns.
Your quality of life matters to us. Our enhanced recovery protocols prepare you for surgery and can help you get back on your feet sooner.
In many cases, our surgeons’ advanced techniques help protect nearby tissues, preserving your body’s natural abilities to function whenever possible.
Why choose us for cancer surgery?
Highlights of our program include:
- Highly skilled surgeons: Our team includes surgeons who are known for their skill in performing intricate surgeries to treat rare and advanced cancers. Other centers regularly send complex cases to us because of our team’s expertise.
- Specialized training: Our surgeons are highly trained to diagnose and treat certain types of cancers, like breast cancer or blood cancers. This specialization means they see a large number of patients with similar conditions. Research shows that programs that treat high numbers of patients deliver better outcomes. Learn more about the cancer types we treat.
- Team-based care: Multidisciplinary tumor boards bring together several cancer specialists to consult on the details of your case and determine the best treatment approach for you. For some patients, our team approach means we can remove cancer and restore the affected area’s look and function at the same time.
- Academic focus: As faculty members at UT Health San Antonio, our doctors are lifelong learners. Through our well-known research and education programs, we explore new ways to treat cancer while teaching tomorrow’s leaders in cancer care. Get more information about cancer clinical trials and research.
- Robotics expertise: Many of our surgeons have extensive experience using sophisticated robotics technology to perform surgeries with extreme precision. Surgical robots enable our doctors to treat hard-to-remove tumors while protecting nearby tissues. Learn about the benefits of robotic surgery.
Types of cancer surgery
Your doctor may recommend one or more procedures throughout the cancer care process. Our skilled surgeons are experienced in using minimally invasive and open techniques to perform intricate surgeries to:
- Stage cancer to determine whether or how far cancer has spread
- Assist cancer treatment by placing a port (small device connected to a flexible tube) under the skin for easier chemotherapy delivery
- Treat or cure cancer by removing cancerous tumors and nearby tissues where cancer may have spread
- Prevent cancer by removing precancerous tissue or healthy tissue for people at high risk of developing cancer (called prophylactic surgery)
- Rebuild tissues or restore function to areas affected by cancer treatment (such as breast reconstruction)
- Ease discomfort caused by advanced cancer that cannot be removed