The complex nature of cancer has resulted in a dynamic range of treatments, ranging from standard/traditional treatments (Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiotherapy) to alternative and complementary therapies. In almost all cases cancer is treated with a combination approach which is determined based on the type of cancer, stage of cancer, and underlying health and age of patients.

Debulking surgery is one of the very important aspect of surgical treatment of cancer and is used when removing entire tumour might damage the tumor organ or nearby organs . Tumors are debulked/partially removed with no curative intent and the only purpose is to facilitate the subsequent cancer treatment. Let’s take a closer look at debulking surgery, what it is, when it is recommended, and when it is considered to be the most effective (and therefore recommended) cancer treatment.

What is Debulking Surgery?

Debulking surgery is the reduction of a tumour volume or, more specifically, removal of as much of a tumor as possible. Whenever possible, the entire tumor is removed, but sometimes there are factors–such as location of the tumor or whether or not it has attached to certain organs–that limit the removal of entire tumour to certain extent.

Is it Effective?

Debulking surgery is rarely used alone. It is considered most effective when used as a precursor to other treatments, particularly in cases of advanced cancer or certain cancers where less invasive therapies are not considered a useful approach.

When Is It Recommended?

Debulking surgery is most often recommended in cases where:

  • The cancer is at an advanced stage
  • Non-invasive treatments are no longer effective
  • The tumor has grown too large for non-surgical procedures
  • The size of the tumor is causing pain and other symptoms that can be relieved by removal or reduction

One of the important functions of a debulking surgery is to remove all the visible signs of cancer leaving no cancer above 1 cm in size, known as an optimal debulking surgery. For this reason, debulking surgery is often recommended as a precursor to other therapies (such as Chemotherapy, SPDT, and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)) for advanced metastatic cancers. Debulking surgery is particularly efficacious in treatment of advanced ovarian cancer and brain cancer. Surgeons and oncologists at SPDT4Life are continuously involved in finding the best solution to treat advanced cancer patients by using multi-modal approach. The debulking surgery is one of the effective ways to treat advanced cancer at SPDT4Life as a part of combination therapy regimen.