General principles

Oxford American handbook of oncology. Second Edition. Oxford University Press (2015)


  • Surgical resection is integral in the treatment of most patients with solid tumors.
  • For some tumors (or certain stages of tumors), surgery alone is the treatment of choice; for others, surgery is a component of multidisciplinary care that may also include either induction or adjuvant therapy.
  • Surgical approaches may be implemented with three goals in the management of cancer patients:
  • Diagnosis and staging
  • Curative intent
  • Palliation
  • In general, the goals of surgical resection for curative intent include complete resection of the primary tumor (with negative margins) and adequate intraoperative staging, depending on the tumor type.
  • There is also a role, in certain tumors, for prophylactic surgery.
  • For example, this surgery might be used for familial polyposis coli colon cancer in the patient who is known to be a BRCA1 gene carrier (breast cancer), and in some of the MEN syndromes (thyroid cancer).
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