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Surgery is used to diagnose cancer, to determine its stage, and to treat cancer. One common type of surgery that may be used to help with diagnosing cancer is a biopsy. A biopsy involves taking a tissue sample from the suspected cancer for examination by a specialist in a laboratory. A biopsy is often performed in the physician’s office or in an outpatient surgery center. A positive biopsy indicates the presence of cancer; a negative biopsy may indicate that no cancer is present in the sample.

When surgery is used for treatment, cancer and some tissue adjacent to the cancer are typically removed. In addition to providing local treatment of cancer, information gained during surgery is useful in predicting the likelihood of cancer recurrence and whether other treatment modalities will be necessary.

Although most patients will have a biopsy performed, not all cancers require surgical treatment. Some cancers are best treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or both. In some instances, the cancerous area might be too big or too difficult to remove with surgery.

Your TCI care team will work with you to decide whether surgery is part of your overall treatment plan.