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Surgical oncology


At the Allina Health Cancer Institute, you have an entire team of experts working with you to provide the highest quality cancer care to meet your specific needs. This team includes our surgical oncologists – highly skilled surgeons with specialized training and experience in surgery to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer.   

Cancer surgery is done for a variety of reasons:  

  • Prevention – the removal of tissue that is not yet cancerous, but may be recommended to be removed because of the risk of it becoming cancerous (also known as “prophylactic surgery”). 

  • Diagnosis – a surgeon may recommend a procedure to remove some tissue samples for testing. This can help determine if cancer is present. Sometimes surgery is also recommended to determine cancer stage (level of progression). 

  • Treatment – surgical removal of cancer, and sometimes surrounding tissue or lymph nodes.  

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Cancer surgery at Allina Health

At the Allina Health Cancer Institute your team of cancer care specialists is committed to providing you with whole person care that is both comprehensive and compassionate. Your team of health care providers will work closely with you through every step of your cancer care. This team includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and nurses – all working together seamlessly, sharing their expertise, continuously improving the care they provide and ensuring that you are receiving treatment that is individualized to your specific needs.  

Your team will also include a dedicated nurse navigator who will help coordinate your care. Your navigator will be a valuable point of contact from diagnosis, through treatment and into recovery.  

The Allina Health Cancer Institute is whole-heartedly dedicated to the field of oncology (the study of cancer). This provides you with the assurance of care that is supported by extensive expertise – from research, prevention and diagnosis to treatment, survivorship of your cancer and integrative services that complement your treatment. 

We also want you to be actively involved in your care. One way you can do that is through the Allina Health account, an online tool that lets you track your appointments, review your test results, communicate with your health care team and more.  

Types of oncology surgery at Allina Health

There are many types of surgery used in cancer care. The type of surgery for you will depend on a number of factors, including whether surgery is to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer, as well as your specific needs.  

Surgical oncologists at the Allina Health Cancer Institute have specialized expertise in a range of surgery types that include:  

  • biopsy – removal of a small amount of tissue to examine under a microscope. 

  • open surgery – a procedure where one or more larger incisions (cuts) are made in your body to remove cancer.  

  • minimally invasive surgery - a procedure where small incisions (cuts) are made in your body and the surgeon inserts a small camera and medical instruments through the incisions to remove the cancer. 

  • laser surgery – use of a narrow beam of light to destroy cancer as well as abnormal cells that may turn into cancer.  

  • robotic-assisted surgery – use of a special device (a robot) to help your surgeon perform the surgery. During the surgery, your surgeon looks through a camera to see a 3-D, up-close image of the surgery site. They use a special computer to control the surgical instruments with robotic arms. The surgery instruments can move in ways a human hand cannot, making it possible to do the surgery through smaller incisions.  

You and your surgeon will talk about the best type(s) to treat your cancer, taking into consideration your specific needs and preferences.  

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Source: Allina Health
Reviewed by: Dr. Natasha Rueth

Last reviewed: 12/20/2021