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
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)
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
Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
VATS is considered a minimally invasive procedure because surgeons use small incisions to remove the cancer. Your surgeon is able to see the cancerous cells and surrounding area through a small camera inside your body. VATS can be used for diagnosing lung cancer and for removing cancerous cells.
Cancers treated with VATS at St. Peter’s: Lung cancer
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 will add the da Vinci Robotic Surgery system in summer 2019.