Cancer surgery is typically used to remove the cancerous cells and, in some cases, surrounding areas if the cancer has spread. Surgery for cancer is sometimes also referred to as surgical oncology.

Cancer Surgery at St. Peter’s Health

Our general surgeons provide a variety of surgeries to remove cancer, including Montana’s only board-certified colorectal surgeon. Below are some of the different surgeries and surgical approaches offered at St. Peter’s.

Your cancer care team will discuss your surgical options with you as part of your treatment plan.


During cryosurgery, your doctor uses very cold material, such as liquid nitrogen spray or a cold probe, to freeze and destroy cancer cells or cells that may become cancerous. These include irregular cells in a woman's cervix that could become cervical cancer.

Cancers treated with cryosurgery at St. Peter’s: Cervical cancer


By applying high–frequency electrical currents, your doctor can kill cancer cells, for example, in your mouth or on your skin.

Cancers treated with electrosurgery at St. Peter’s: Head and neck cancers; skin cancer

Laparoscopic Surgery

In laparoscopic surgery, a surgeon uses a laparoscope to see inside your body. The surgeon watches a monitor that projects what the camera sees. Laparoscopic surgery uses smaller incisions, which typically means faster recovery and a reduced risk of complications. Laparoscopic surgery is used in cancer diagnosis, staging, treatment and symptom relief.

Cancers treated with laparoscopic surgery at St. Peter’s: Primarily gastrointestinal cancers, including gall bladder cancer, colon cancer, bile duct cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer (or, gastric cancer)

Image-Guided Surgery

In some instances, surgeons rely on real–time images of your body to guide them when operating. MRI images allow the surgeon to be very precise, removing the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues. Other imaging techniques are used as well, including computerized tomography (CT) and ultrasound.

Cancers treated with image-guided surgery at St. Peter’s: Breast cancer

Robotic Surgery

In robotic surgery, the surgeon maneuvers surgical tools using hand controls for a robot that performs the operation. Robotic surgery requires specialized training and is used to help surgeons operate in hard–to–reach areas.

Cancers treated with robotic surgery at St. Peter’s: St. Peter’s offers robotic-assisted surgery for genitourinary cancer using the state-of-the-art da Vinci Xi® robot. 

Location(s) of Surgical Oncology Services