Surgical Oncology FAQs

Will I Receive Chemotherapy or Surgery For My Tumors?

Traditionally, if tumors can be removed with surgery, a combination of surgery with chemotherapy—either before surgery or after surgery—is recommended. Typically, patients are first treated with chemotherapy in the hopes that the tumors will shrink in response. Following which, surgery can be performed.

What Types of Cancers Can Be Treated With Surgery?

Sometimes surgery alone will work for early-stage cancer of all types. But for many cancers, the best course of action is to use a combination of surgery plus other treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation therapies. At the Mount Sinai Health System, we evaluate each patient in a multidisciplinary fashion to create an individualized treatment plan for those with a new cancer. We perform surgery, as it is appropriate in conjunction with other treatments, as well as to improve our cure rates of cancer.

How Soon After Cancer Diagnosis Will I Receive Surgery?

Shortly after the diagnosis of a new cancer, patients come to see a surgeon here at Mount Sinai to begin discussing the next steps of diagnosis and treatment. When you might have surgery depends on the multidisciplinary approach we take here at Mount Sinai—each case is unique and we treat it as such. If surgery is the recommended first treatment, we try to operate within a week or two of meeting the patient. Typically, however, due to our multidisciplinary fashion, other treatment may be proposed first. Based on a patient’s individual treatment plan, some people will begin with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, followed by surgery. Occasionally, there is a delay of several weeks or even several months from an initial diagnosis until surgery, because we are treating patients with different modalities.

Pain and Aftercare following Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgery

One of the major issues experienced after gastrointestinal surgery is pain at the site of the incision. Working closely with our anesthesiology colleagues, we focus on maximizing pain control so that patients can get up, walk around, and breathe easily after surgery. Another issue people often have, especially with intestinal surgery, is eating after surgery. For most people, it does take a couple of weeks before they are able to eat and drink at their normal amounts and frequency. At Mount Sinai, we optimize minimally invasive techniques, even for complex operations, to try to minimize pain after surgery. Additionally, when appropriate, we often incorporate laparoscopic and robotic techniques to try to minimize incision size.