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Surgery can be useful to diagnose cancer, determine its stage of development, and to treat it. One common type of surgery that may be used to help with cancer diagnosis is a biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a tissue sample from your body. This sample is sent for examination by a specialist in a laboratory. A positive biopsy indicates the presence of cancer; a negative biopsy may indicate that no cancer is present in the sample.

In addition to helping in the diagnosis of cancer, surgery can provide other benefits:

  • Cure

    Sometimes surgery involves completely removing cancer cells. Surgery alone may be effective, or your doctor may recommend combining it with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, for the best results.
  • Symptom relief

    Your doctor may determine that surgery can help treat possible side effects of cancer, such as pain.
  • Reconstruction

    When necessary, surgery can help minimize deformities caused by cancer and, as a result, improve your quality of life.

Talk with your doctor about whether surgery is right for you. If, together, you determine that it is, be sure to discuss the specific goals of your surgery. Ask what to expect, and how to prepare for the surgical procedure and recovery.