Surgical oncology is the branch of surgery applied to oncology; it focuses on the surgical management of tumors, especially cancerous tumors.
Surgery is the oldest form of cancer treatment, and for most patients, part of the curative plan includes surgery. The most important part of the consultation with the surgeon is a complete history and physical exam. Before surgical resection, diagnostic and staging studies should be performed. This helps the surgeon determine if the cancer is resectable (removable with surgery), and allows him or her to plan the surgical approach. Due to improved screening techniques, many patients have disease that is curable with surgery alone at diagnosis. In such cases, after surgery, the patient's follow-up care includes close observation and/or radiology and lab tests.