Some common terms for Cancer Surgery treatment ~ Health Guide

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Some common terms for Cancer Surgery treatment

Written by Mystic on Monday, August 04, 2008

As far as possible, the surgeon tries to remove all the cancer whilst sparing the surrounding tissue.

The suffix -ectomy describes any surgery during which tissue is cut away and removed from the body. For example:

* Mastectomy is the surgical term for the complete removal of breast tissue. (The prefix mast is derived from the Greek for breast.)
* Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. (The prefix hyster- comes from the Greek hysteria for uterus.)
* Laryngectomy describes an operation during which the larynx or voice box is removed. (Larynx is the word for voice box.)

The suffix -ostomy describes surgery that creates an artificial opening in the body. For example:

* Colostomy describes an operation during which one end of the large bowel is removed. The other end is connected to an opening that is created on the surface of the abdomen which is called a stoma.
* When the larynx is removed, food and fluid entering the gullet can enter the lungs. To make breathing safe the surgeon moves the windpipe to the front, near the base of the neck, and creates an artificial opening through it called a tracheostomy.

Listed below are some common terms used to describe how much tissue has been removed:

Conservative or partial surgery removes the cancer whilst sparing most of the surrounding tissue. For example, during a partial mastectomy the surgeon aims to remove the entire tumour without altering the breast shape too much.

Total: the removal of the entire organ, or all the tissue in a particular part of the body. A total prostatectomy indicates the removal of the entire prostate gland.

Sub-total indicates part of an organ is spared. During a sub-total hysterectomy the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place.

Radical is sometimes used to describe surgery that is more extensive, reaching out widely to surrounding tissues, and in certain cases, surrounding organs as well. For example, during a radical neck dissection following a laryngectomy the surgeon may remove the thyroid gland, the lymph glands in the neck, as well as extra neck tissue.

An amputation indicates the removal of a limb, or part of a limb. Amputations may be performed in extreme cases for bone cancers in the arm or leg, if other standard treatments are not recommended. Limb sparing surgery is most often the preferred surgical option: the affected part of the bone is removed, and replaced with a specially designed piece of metal, or a bone graft from another part of the body.

If your surgeon uses terms that are unfamiliar do not hesitate to ask him to explain their meaning more clearly. Most surgeons are only too willing to answer your questions and to ensure you understand exactly what is involved in a particular procedure.

Surgery for rehabilitation

The word rehabilitation in relation to cancer surgery means restoring or replacing tissues that are removed, altered or damaged during surgery. Lost tissue can often be rebuilt, through reconstructive surgery, or replaced with a prosthesis.

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