There are many ways to treat cancer beyond simply cutting it out. In some cases, surgery is not advisable or possible. Sometimes surgery works best in tandem with other treatment options, or is used to prepare for additional treatment.
- Surgical oncologists at Mount Sinai Beth Israel work with radiation oncologists (radiologists who specialize in treating cancer through radiation) and medical oncologists (physicians who specialize in treating cancer through medications, including chemotherapy). Surgical oncologists also work with physicians who specialize in the part of the body where the tumor occurs—gastroenterologists for digestive cancers, for instance.
Here are some of the multidisciplinary ways that surgical oncologists treat patients:
- Surgical procedures allow pathologists to stage the cancer. Without proper diagnostic staging, effective planning cannot be accomplished. For more on making an accurate diagnosis, click here.
- Surgery can be performed simultaneously with other oncology treatments. For instance, chemotherapy can be delivered via the surgical isolation of an area of circulation, or radiation seeds can be placed during the surgery itself.
- Surgery can follow other oncology treatments. For instance, borderline tumors are made smaller by chemotherapy and radiation prior to surgery to make it easier for the surgeon to remove the cancerous tissue.
- Surgical oncologists can also prepare the path for other treatments, such as when they place clips at the site of a tumor for future radiation.
- Surgical oncologists can work collaboratively with other disciplines, such as with plastic and reconstructive surgeons during mastectomies.
- Surgical oncology can support clinical trials. As an example, a recent immunotherapy trial for pancreatic cancer had participants receiving a vaccine after a specific surgery to see if the body seeks out cells that have a certain genetic mutation.
- Surgical oncologists also understand the importance of ancillary services such as pain control specialists, nutritionists and psychosocial support professionals.
Weekly conferences are held where the multidisciplinary team discusses cases and decides as a group the appropriate—and coordinated—treatment path for each patient.
To learn more about Surgical Oncology at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, please call (212) 420-4335. Appointments can be made by calling each physician’s office. Please visit the "Our Surgeons" page for a list of physicians.