If you find a lump or experience symptoms such as fatigue, unexplained weight loss, chills, fever, night sweats, malaise or loss of appetite, it may be a tumor. You should be having yearly cancer screening tests for early detection. Once a tumor is found, you need to be aware of your options regarding its removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are There Alternatives To Tumor Removal?
- What is Debulking Tumor Removal?
- What Are The Risks of Tumor Removal?
- When is tumor removal necessary?
- What is the success rate of tumor removal?
Are There Alternatives To Tumor Removal?
Not really. There are however, multiple ways of reducing the size of a tumor. Whichever method is recommended by your oncologist will depend on whether the tumor is malignant or benign. Benign tumors are those which do not spread to other parts of the body. In many cases they are harmless and don’t require removal. Surgery is an option for removing the tumor if it’s causing health problems or is a cosmetic concern. It can also be treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but surgical removal is usually the most effective approach.
As for malignant tumors, these can progressively spread (metastasize). For this reason, surgical removal may be necessary in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Surgeons can also perform non-curative surgery, biological therapy and debulking the cancer.
What is Debulking Tumor Removal?
In some cases, the tumor may be too large for complete removal. This occurs for example where removing the whole cancer would cause severe damage to another organ. In this instance, surgeons can debulk the tumor by removing as much of the cancerous tissue as is possibly safe. The remaining tumor can be treated with chemo or radiation. Debulking makes the other treatments more effective.
What Are The Risks of Tumor Removal?
The risks and complications associated with tumor removal can occur prior to, during or after the surgery. Before the operation, if the biopsy does not procure an adequate sample, there is a risk of the cancer being misdiagnosed. In some instances, the tumor is not located properly, which means further removal surgery. Another danger is seeding (spreading cancerous cells during the operation). The removal operation also carries risks which are normally associated with surgical intervention including infection, excessive bleeding and injury to adjacent tissue.
When is tumor removal necessary?
Tumors are removed for either diagnostic or therapeutic reasons. A part of the tumor may be surgically excised to determine the nature and extent of a cancer. Obtaining a sample biopsy is the most accurate method of assessing the type of cancer and how far it’s spread. Once the sample is analysed, it may be necessary to remove the cancerous malignant tissue from the body to prevent further spread.
What is the success rate of tumor removal?
The rate of success depends on the type, size and location of the cancer, the surgeon’s experience, the purpose of treatment and the patient’s health and age. Removal of benign tumors is successful in most cases without risk of seeding (spread of abnormal cells to other parts of the body) and small risk of reappearance. As for malignant tumors, a successful result occurs where the whole tumor is removed with a visible border of healthy tissue and where there is no evidence of spread or seeding. Due to the large amount of variables, it is difficult to provide a figure for the entire range of tumor removal. However, statistics are available for specific types of tumors. For example, the success rate of removing small microadenomas from Cushing’s disease is about 90%.