Cancer Treatment Centers of America

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Surgical Oncology

surgical oncology
"I work closely with the other specialties to provide a comprehensive treatment plan."

-Dr. David Litvak, Surgical Oncologist

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 Western

The Department of Surgical Oncology at CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) consists of surgical oncologists, as well as anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, physician’s assistants, and wound care-certified registered nurses.

Chief of Staff and surgical oncologist Dr. David Litvak discusses the team approach at CTCA: “I work closely with the other specialties such as medical and radiation oncology to provide a comprehensive treatment plan incorporating what I do and what the other specialties offer, such as chemotherapy. This way, patient care is well orchestrated, comprehensive, innovative, durable, and do-able.”

Dr. Litvak is experienced in performing complex open and minimally invasive cancer surgery. He performs laparoscopic liver resections among other specialty surgeries, such as those for cancers of the pancreas, breast, and colon.

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