Surgery is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment and is often the cornerstone of a treatment plan. Many cancer patients have some kind of surgery during their cancer treatment—sometimes only surgery; other times, surgery in combination with chemotherapy or radiation. The specialists and cancer healthcare teams at MedStar Health are fully prepared to be with you, answer questions, and provide compassion during each phase of your surgery.
The surgeons at MedStar Harbor can treat patients from cancer diagnosis to reconstruction in the following ways:
- Diagnoses are often made after biopsies, a surgical procedure that removes suspicious tissue for analysis.
- Preventive surgery examples include precancerous polyps removed from the colon or preventative mastectomies for women with a family history of breast cancer.
- Staging determines how far cancer has spread.
- Curative surgery removes the entire tumor when it is only in one area, has not spread, and can be removed in its entirety.
- Debulking/cytoreductive surgery removed some but not all of the tumor. It is performed when removing the entire tumor would cause damage to surrounding tissues and organs. Chemotherapy or radiation usually follows to destroy the rest of the tumor.
- Symptom relief can also be handled by surgery, such as when a tumor that is pressing on a nerve or bone or obstructing your intestine is removed.
- Restorative/reconstructive surgery often follows treatment to restore your body to how it functioned and looked pre-surgery. Restorative surgery is common after a mastectomy or after surgery for head and neck cancer.
Your preparation for surgery at MedStar Health will depend on the type of procedure you are having. In general, you can expect:
- Informed consent: The doctor will tell you about your procedure, including goals, risks and side effects. You provide written permission to perform the surgery.
- Preparatory tests: Your doctor will order blood and urine tests and X-ray or other imaging tests before your surgery.
- Other preparations: You should not to eat or drink anything beginning the night before your surgery, especially if you will be having general anesthesia.
For a physician referral, please call 855-546-1083.
MedStar Harbor Hospital
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225