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Surgical Oncology Program

The surgical oncologists at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute specialize in the surgical management of cancer. These experts—surgeons who have extensive training in oncology—use surgical, minimally invasive and non-invasive techniques to treat this disease. No matter what technique is called for, our goal is to completely remove the cancer without damaging the rest of the body. In addition, surgeons may use these procedures as preventative measures, to aid in diagnosing or assessing the cancer, for reconstructive purposes or for pain management.

The surgical oncologists at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute work closely with other medical specialists to provide the most comprehensive, advanced treatments available. They use diagnostic tests and all other available data to determine the best course of action for each patient. If that includes surgery, they’ll go over the different surgical options to help patients make the best decision regarding their care.

The Florida Hospital Cancer Institute’s Surgical Oncology Program offers cancer surgery for hepatobiliary malignancy, pancreatic lesions, sarcoma and colorectal cancer. We also treat adrenal tumors, bile duct and gallbladder cancer, cystic pancreatic tumors, gastric cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), pancreatic adenocarcinoma, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, primary and metastatic liver tumors, small bowel cancer, soft tissue sarcomas (retroperitoneal, pelvic and extremity) and splenic disorders. Whenever possible, our experts offer minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeries, which afford our patients a shorter recovery time and less risk of complications.

Two of the more common types of cancer our Surgical Oncology Program treats are pancreatic and liver cancer:

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

Cancer treatment is highly specialized and often needs to be done in a multidisciplinary manner, drawing on the expertise of myriad experts in different fields. Treatment for pancreatic cancer can involve three components: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Of these, surgery is the only treatment that can potentially cure pancreatic cancer. The most common procedures for pancreatic resection are a pancreaticoduodenectomy for a tumor in the head of the pancreas, and a distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy for tumors in the body and tail of the pancreas. These operations only benefit the patient if the entire tumor can be removed, with no cancerous cells left behind. In addition, these surgeries are very complex and come with significant risks of complications. For that reason, patients must be evaluated to see if they are suitable candidates for pancreatic cancer surgery. If they are not good candidates, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used to prolong survival. For some “borderline” patients, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be employed to shrink tumors and allow patients’ medical condition to improve prior to surgery.

Primary Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) Surgery

For primary liver cancer, treatment options, including surgical resection and liver transplantation, are generally only effective if the tumor has not spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Once that happens, chemotherapy may be used to prolong survival.

The good news is that the liver is one of the only organs in the body that can regenerate after part of it is removed. In a healthy liver, in fact, 75 percent of the organ can be removed, and the remaining 25 percent will regrow to almost normal size. However, most cases of hepatocellular carcinoma occur in unhealthy livers, which inhibits the liver’s ability to regenerate. Only about 20 to 30 percent of hepatocellular carcinoma patients can have resection surgery as a treatment option.

Another surgical option is liver transplantation. Transplantation is commonly used for cancer patients who also have cirrhosis because it addresses both the cancer and the liver’s underlying damage. The criteria for liver transplantation, however, are fairly strict, which means many patients are not candidates.

The Florida Hospital Cancer Institute is accredited by several national cancer organizations for their quality, outcomes and comprehensive care. FHCI is accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (COC) and the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI). Most recently, our Clinical Research Center has been awarded a $2.1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), allowing FHCI access to NCI’s prevention, control and treatment trials for cancer treatment and prevention. Learn more about clinical trials and The Florida Hospital Surgical Oncology Program.

Learn more about Florida Hospital Cancer Institute’s offerings