Tumor Removal

Tumor Removal

 

Definition

Tumor removal is a surgical procedure to remove an abnormal growth.

Purpose

A tumor can be either benign, like a wart, or malignant, in which case it is a cancer. Benign tumors are well circumscribed and generally are easy to remove completely. In contrast, cancers pose some of the most difficult problems in all of surgery.
Currently 40% of all cancers are treated with surgery alone. In 55% of cases, surgery is combined with other treatments—usually radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
The doctor needs to decide if surgery should be done at all. Because cancers spread (metastasize) to normal tissues, sometimes at the other end of the body, the ability of surgery to cure must be addressed at the outset. As long as the cancer is localized, the initial presumption is that cure should be attempted by removing it as soon as possible.
Non-curative surgery may make other treatments more effective. "Debulking" a cancer-making it smaller-is thought to assist radiation and chemotherapy to get to the remaining pieces of the cancer and be more effective. Physicians apply standards and guidelines based on research to the specific situation of a given patient s situation to decide the best approach. For example, reports released in 2003 said a study of patients with a common form of brain tumor called glioma had a more favorable outcome if their tumors were removed than if a biopsy were just performed.
Another important function surgery performs in cancer treatment is accurately assessing the nature and extent of the cancer. Most cancers cannot be adequately identified without a piece being placed under a microscope. This piece is obtained by surgery. Surgery also is the only way to determine exactly how far the tumor has spread. There are a few standard methods of comparing one cancer to another for the purposes of comparing treatments and estimating outcomes. These methods are called "staging." The most universal method is the TNM system.
  • "T" stands for "tumor" and reflects the size of the tumor.
  • "N" represents the spread of the cancer to lymph nodes, largely determined by those nodes removed at surgery that contain cancer cells. Since cancers spread mostly through the lymph system and this is a useful measure of their ability to disperse.
  • "M" refers to the metastases, how far they are from the original cancer and how often they have multiplied.
Other methods of staging include Duke's method and similar systems, which add the degree of invasion of the cancer into the surrounding tissues to the above criteria.
Staging is particularly important with such lymphomas as Hodgkin's disease. These cancers may appear in many places in the lymphatic system. Because they are very radiosensitive, radiation treatment often is curative if all the cancer is irradiated. Therefore, it must all be located. Surgery is a common, usually essential, method of performing this staging. If the disease is too widespread, the staging procedure will dictate chemotherapy instead of radiation.

Precautions

Curative cancer surgery demands special considerations. There is a danger of spreading or seeding the cancer during the process of removing it. Presuming the cancer cells can grow almost anywhere in the body to which they spread, the surgeon must not "spill" cells into the operating field or "knock them loose" into the blood stream. Special techniques called "block resection" and "no touch" are used. Block resection means taking the entire specimen out as a single piece. "No touch" means that only the normal tissue removed with specimen is handled; the cancer itself is never touched. This prevents "squeezing" cancer cells out into the circulation. Further, in this technique pains are taken to clamp off the blood supply first, preventing cells from leaving by that route later in the surgery.

Description

Diagnostic biopsies

There are four types of biopsy techniques. The physician will choose the appropriate technique depending on the tumor type, location, size, and other factors. Some types of biopsy are more invasive than others.
  • Aspiration biopsy. A needle is inserted into the tumor and a sample is withdrawn.
  • Needle biopsy. A special cutting needle is inserted into the core of the tumor and a core sample is cut out.
  • Incisional biopsy. A portion of a large tumor is removed, usually before complete tumor removal.
  • Excisional biopsy. A whole lesion is removed along with surrounding normal tissue.

Complete tumor removal

Once surgical removal has been decided, an oncologic surgeon will remove the tumor whole, taking with it a large section of the surrounding normal tissue. The healthy tissue is removed to minimize the risk of possible seeding.

Cytoreduction

When surgical removal of a tumor is unacceptable as a sole treatment, a portion of the tumor is removed to "debulk" the mass. Debulking aids radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Aftercare

Retesting and periodical examinations are necessary to ensure that a tumor has not reformed after total removal.
A comparison of benign (top of illustration) and malignant tumor characteristics.
A comparison of benign (top of illustration) and malignant tumor characteristics.
(Illustration by Hans & Cassady, Inc.)

Risks

The possibility of mestastasis and seeding are risks that have to be considered in consultation with an oncologist. The advancement in imaging techniques has led to some tumor staging by techniques like positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. A needle biopsy may still be required to confirm a diagnosis or staging decision, but in some cases, imaging can replace an initial need for biopsy.

Resources

Periodicals

"PET Scan, Endcoscopic Ulrsound Show Promise in Staging for Lung Cancer Surgery." Biotech Week July 9, 2003: 181.
"Study of Brain Tumors Points to Resection Over Biopsy as One Key to Survival." Cancer Weekly October 28, 2003: 20.
References in periodicals archive ?
AVB-620 is a fluorescent, cancer-illuminating probe that is designed to enable cancer surgeons to distinguish tumor tissue from normal during surgery, potentially preventing the need for many secondary surgeries to ensure complete tumor removal.
CHU Bordeaux is one of the first hospitals worldwide to pioneer kidney tumor removal by using 3D printed color multi-material models pre-surgery to locate depth of kidney tumors
In our series, 3 patients (patients 1, 2, and 3) underwent gross total tumor removal.
Interventional oncology is a fastgrowing field that offers clinicians a viable treatment option for patients who are not suitable for surgical tumor removal," said Gene Saragnese, Imaging Systems CEO at Philips Healthcare.
The medical crew of the Africa Mercy performs up to 7,000 procedures each year, including cataract removal/lens implant, tumor removal, cleft lip and palate reconstruction, orthopedic operations and obstetric fistula repair.
In its monthly report on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the OIC said that the shortage of medicine and medical supplies has rendered it impossible to perform eye and pediatric surgeries, cardiac catheterization and tumor removal surgeries.
Intra or postoperative mandible fracture from the tumor removal.
This is because men have less breast tissue and, therefore, less tissue to reconstruct after tumor removal.
Dew performs a variety of surgeries on small animals, including brain tumor removal, fracture repairs and disc repairs.
7) After tumor removal, the space can be filled with polymethylmethacrylate cement or bone graft.
Determining the location of OOM tumors, which often produce excess amounts of the phosphaturic hormone fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23), can be difficult, and confirmation of successful tumor removal may require prolonged postoperative observation until the return of serum indicators to reference-interval concentrations (2).
Drawing on their own extensive experience in skull base tumor and middle ear surgery, four Italian and one Jordanian otolaryngologists discuss the management of the facial nerve, whether saving it or reconstructing it when it is injured during or after tumor removal.