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A tumor resection is surgery for removing a tumor from the body. A resection is defined as a removal of all or part of an organ or bone, so a tumor resection is removal of all or part of a tumor. There are many types of resections and many types of tumor surgery, because each cancer is different and requires a different approach. The purpose of a tumor resection, though, remains the same: to remove the cancer from the body. There are, however, times when tumor resection is done to help alleviate symptoms for palliative care purposes.
There are as many different types of resections as there are types of cancers. Segmental resection is the removal of a tumor by removing the organ or gland in which the tumor is present. A wedge resection is surgical removal of a triangular piece of tissue, and it usually includes removing some healthy tissue along with it. Abdominoperineal resection is the removal of most of the intestines through the abdominal cavity, and it requires the insertion of a colostomy bag.
Laproscopic-assisted resection is the use of a laproscope to resect an abdominal tumor. A sleeve resection is the removal of part of a lung and major airway. Transurethral resection of the prostate is the resection of the prostate gland through the urethra. These are just the most common ways doctors resect tumors.
Preparing for tumor resection might be a difficult thing for patients to come to terms. It might mean the loss of part of an organ or a body part. The surgery itself might even be life threatening. It is a good idea for patients to discuss these decisions with family members beforehand so that everyone can have their feelings heard.
Family support is important for a person facing something as overwhelming as a tumor resection. Research and education are important for a patient to have before undergoing any surgery, so one should be sure to know what type the tumor is and where it is located. Sometimes having a bit of knowledge is enough to help with nerves.
After a tumor resection, one should focus on the aftercare that the doctor prescribes. Depending on the cancer and where it was located, there could be any number of treatment modalities possible. Chemotherapy, radiation or follow-up within a certain time frame are all possibilities after removing a tumor. It is important for the patient to do as the doctor orders to ensure that the cancer is kept at bay. Tumor surgery can sometimes cure cancer, but really, it is just one tool in the arsenal of care.
I think all oncologists should have therapists on their staffs to help patients deal with cancer surgery -- particularly if they are going to lose a body part, and not just the tumor. I think that would help so much. A patient should be required to attend so many counseling sessions before and after surgery to make sure they not only understand the process, but can come to terms with it, cope with the changes, and still maintain the positive outlook that is so crucial in beating cancer.
Every doctor should have a good relationship with the psychiatrists and therapists in his or her city, so referrals can be made when necessary, to help patients deal with news like major cancer surgery.
Fortunately, my mom really didn't have a difficult time with the idea of a mastectomy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was over 20 years ago, and the modified radical mastectomy was still the treatment of choice. Nowadays, for smaller tumors, most surgeons will opt for a lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.
It just depends on the type and size of the tumor, if you're talking about breast cancer. I remember the baseball pitcher Dave Dravecky eventually had to have his arm amputated when cancer was found in it. That was really sad. He was an all-star pitcher, so I know it was hard to come to terms with it.