UnityPoint Health - John Stoddard Cancer Center

Surgical Oncology

Surgery is the oldest form of cancer treatment and is still used extensively today. An estimated 60 percent of patients will undergo cancer surgery during their cancer journey.

In many cancers, including rare ones, surgical removal of the tumor is still the primary treatment. Cancer surgeries are done by general surgeons or surgeons who specialize in cancer related surgeries.

Surgery as a cancer treatment may be used for many purposes, such as:

  • curative treatment

  • diagnostic treatment (removal of tissue samples for testing and evaluation)

  • palliative treatment (to relieve discomfort and improve quality of life)

  • preventive treatment (removal of tissue that does not yet contain cancer cells but has a high risk of turning cancerous)

  • restorative treatment (to repair or replace damaged or destroyed areas of the body)

  • supportive treatment (surgical placement of a device to aid in the delivery of medications)