Cancer Surgery

This information is useful for adults and older adults
Man with gray hair in a white T-shirt stands on a boardwalk smiling, possibly because of successful cancer surgery

While cancer treatment is progressing in many directions, surgery to remove the cancer is still the most frequently used approach to care for patients with solid tumors. Even if surgery is just ­one part of a more comprehensive treatment plan that involves other therapies, many cancer patients will have some form of surgery.

Surgery may be done at different points along your journey, whether the goal is to perform a biopsy to get a precise cancer diagnosis, to remove part or all of the tumor, to reconstruct the affected area after a tumor is removed, or to provide relief from symptoms (called palliative relief). Surgery for cancer is advancing rapidly, and in many cases you and your surgeon will have choices to make—sometimes multiple choices—about the surgical option that’s right for you.

“Surgical oncologists are not only specialized in how to technically perform cancer surgery, but also at understanding the biology behind the cancer we treat,” says Yale Medicine's Sajid Kahn, MD, a surgical oncologist, practicing at Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center at Trumbull. “We understand and incorporate fundamental principles of medical oncology, radiation oncology, palliative care, and gastroenterology to provide the best outcome for each patient.” 

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.