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Surgery is a branch of medicine that developed primarily around the management of wounds, infections, and bladder stones. Along the way, it also became the primary treatment modality for malignant solid tumors. For many cancers, surgical resection remains the foundation of curative treatment. This chapter in Cancer Concepts: A Guidebook for the Non-Oncologist aims to introduce the history of cancer surgery, to answer the question of “What is a surgical oncologist?”, and to discuss the different categories of cancer surgery.

Publication Date



University of Massachusetts Medical School


Worcester, MA


cancer, oncology, surgical oncology


Medical Education | Neoplasms | Oncology | Surgery


This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN276201100010C with the University of Massachusetts, Worcester.

Principles of Surgical Oncology



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