Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Surgical Oncology

surgical oncology

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 and surgeons with advanced training in various surgical techniques, as well as 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 Southeastern

Led by Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery Dr. Alan Yahanda, the Department of Surgical Oncology at CTCA at Southeastern Regional Medical Center (Southeastern) consists of surgical oncologists, as well as anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, physician’s assistants, and wound care-certified registered nurses.

"We make sure that our patients have a full understanding of their cancer, treatment options and the surgery that they are about to have," says Dr. Yahanda. "We talk to them openly and honestly in a compassionate way and give them a full understanding of what to expect."

Throughout his 20-plus years of surgical experience, Dr. Yahanda has focused on treating cancer patients and has a wide range of expertise in managing intra-abdominal, gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, as well breast, skin and soft tissue cancers.

“We share with our patients the best of our knowledge and experience in recommending a course of treatment,” says Dr. Yahanda. “Ultimately, when moving forward with a treatment plan, the final decision belongs to our patients.”

An individualized approach

For Dr. Yahanda, formulating an individualized treatment plan begins with a thorough review of your medical records prior to your visit to CTCA, coupled with the findings of our intake doctors. Dr. Yahanda also examines lab findings and imaging studies, and meets with other members of your care team.

“Our goal is to do a thorough evaluation so we can pull together the entire picture to gain an accurate understanding of the stage and complexity of the disease,” explains Dr. Yahanda. “We then use that information to make an assessment about whether surgical treatment is appropriate or not.”

Improving quality of life

While removing malignant tumors is the primary objective, the surgical oncology team at Southeastern also understands the importance of quality of life. Through various procedures, your surgical oncologists 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).

Throughout your treatment, you will also receive supportive care services to help reduce cancer-related fatigue, functional impairments, and other side effects so you can maintain your quality of life during treatment.

“It is helpful to have a lot of different sets of eyes available during the treatment and recovery process,” says Dr. Yahanda. “It is a real benefit to the patients to have physicians with their own individual expertise from various disciplines to assist patients with integrative oncology services in real time, all in one location.”

The Advanced Surgical Recovery Program (ASURE) at Southeastern

Led by Dr. Kevin Watkins and Dr. Neil Seeley, the Advanced Surgical Recovery (ASURE) program at Southeastern includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists, pain management physicians, registered dieticians, naturopathic clinicians and other supportive care clinicians. “The ASURE program is designed to help patients recover from surgery faster, with shorter hospital stays and fewer complications,” says Dr. Watkins, Chief of Surgery at Southeastern. “For cancer patients trying to complete treatment, it may also mean getting through their journey faster.”

“We collaborated on the ASURE programming by combining the surgical components of enhanced recovery with the anesthesia and post-operative components into one unified pathway,” says Dr. Seeley, Director of Anesthesiology at Southeastern. “By working together, we aim to improve patient functionality while reducing their reliance on narcotics.”

Read more about the ASURE program at CTCA.

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