Surgery means treating illness by cutting away body tissue. It is one of the main treatments for cancer. Usually a surgical knife (scalpel) is used but high-energy light beams (lasers) can also be used to cut through body tissue.
Cryotherapy is a type of surgery which uses a freezing probe to remove tissues.
Cancer surgery can be used for:
- Diagnosis - a small piece of tissue is removed to confirm diagnosis of cancer. This is called a biopsy.
- Treatment - to remove the tumour or nearby tissues which might contain cancer cells.
- Staging - this process is used to work out the size of the cancer and whether it has spread.
- Reconstruction - for example, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
- Palliation - if the cancer cannot be completely removed or cured, surgery may help by removing a tumour to reduce the effects.