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Surgical Oncology

surgical oncology
Dr. Steven Standiford heads our Department of Surgical Oncology. With over 25 years of experience as a surgical oncologist, Dr. Standiford also serves as Chief of Staff and National Director of Surgical Oncology and Perioperative Services.

Our department

The Department of Surgical Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) provides a variety of advanced surgical procedures for the treatment of cancer and cancer-related symptoms.

Since many of our patients come to us with complex and advanced stage cancers, the surgical oncology team is experienced in providing advanced surgical procedures for all types and stages of disease.

Your surgical team

Our surgical oncology team includes surgical oncologists, nurses, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists and other cancer professionals with diverse expertise in treating all types and stages of cancer. We work closely with you to find surgical options best suited to your individual needs and preferences, so you can feel confident in your treatment decisions.

  • Prior to surgery, we will explain what you can expect, answer your questions and help you feel comfortable with an upcoming procedure.
  • During surgery, our pathologists can evaluate tissue samples as they are removed and provide pathology results immediately. This helps ensure that your surgical oncology team is able to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible during surgery, reducing the likelihood that you will have to undergo multiple surgeries.
  • After surgery, your care team will work with you to help prevent and manage any side effects. You may also have reconstructive surgery to restore appearance or function.

Innovations in surgery

Our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options that are best suited to your individual needs. We provide minimally invasive surgical procedures, which help reduce side effects and shorten recovery.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the location, size, type, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as age, general health and other factors. The goal of surgery may be to remove the tumor (e.g., excisions, resections, debulking surgery), reconstruct a part of the body (e.g., restorative surgery), and/or to relieve symptoms such as pain (e.g., palliative surgery).

For some patients, surgery may be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy, administered before or after surgery to stop cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians work together with your surgical oncologist to support your healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function, often at the time of surgery or following surgery.

The surgical oncology team at Eastern

Dr. Steven Standiford heads the Department of Surgical Oncology at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern). With over 25 years of experience as a surgical oncologist, Dr. Standiford also serves as the hospital's Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff, and as the National Director of Surgical Oncology & Perioperative Services at CTCA.

“Here, all I do is take care of people with cancer. It’s an entirely different thing than being in a general hospital. Here, we are specialists in one thing—and that is a person with cancer,” says Dr. Standiford. “A lot of places stop exerting effort when they don’t have aggressive treatment options. And here at CTCA, I think that is sometimes where we’ll start,” he adds.

Aside from Dr. Standiford, another surgical oncologist who is part of the team is Dr. Russell Reisner. Dr. Reisner has over 12 years of surgical oncology experience. He specializes in soft tissue cancer and gastrointestinal oncology surgery.

In addition to our surgical oncologists, some of the other members of the surgical oncology team include surgical technicians, anesthesiologists, physician’s assistants, and wound care-certified registered nurses.

Three times a week, the surgical oncology team participates in endorsement meetings, in which all the clinical disciplines come to the table together to share information regarding patient care. “CTCA is the only place I have seen where multidisciplinary care is the rule, not the exception,” says Dr. Reisner.

Neurosurgery services

At Eastern, we also treat neurological cancers with advanced surgical procedures through our in-house Neurosurgery Services Program. Neurosurgeon Dr. Eric St. Clair uses innovative surgical techniques, like intraoperative electrophysiology “brain mapping” and intraoperative neuronavigation, which help to enhance the safety of treatment.

Improving quality of life during and after surgery

Since many patients come to Eastern with advanced stage disease, the surgical oncology team must think outside the box to provide innovative new options to fight cancer and improve quality of life.

“We are willing to look for options when people have exhausted conventional options or options available through their current treatment provider,” says Dr. Standiford. “Sometimes we think outside the box, and sometimes we think outside the factory where we they build the boxes,” he adds. 

Before, during and after your procedure, your surgical oncologist will take time to educate you about what to expect, answer your questions, and listen to your concerns.

While removing malignant tumors is the primary objective, our surgical oncology team also understands the importance of quality of life. Through various procedures, your surgical oncologist strives to help you relieve pain (e.g., palliative surgery), maintain dignity (e.g., reconstructive surgery), and preserve normal function (e.g., limb-sparing surgery).

For example, Eastern’s surgical oncology team commonly inserts tunneled catheters to help control pleural effusion. Pleural effusion is defined as the abnormal accumulation of fluids that result when a tumor has spread to the pleura or abdomen. This procedure can make you more comfortable by preventing you from feeling full all of the time so you can maintain your nutritional status.

Throughout your treatment, you will also receive integrative oncology services, such as nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation, mind-body medicine and spiritual counseling. These therapies can help reduce cancer-related fatigue, functional impairments, and other side effects so you can maintain your quality of life during treatment.

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