Introduction to Surgery
Based on descriptions of discovered Egyptian papyri, surgeries were performed by the ancient Egyptians. The tools they used for surgery included knives, drills, saws, hooks, forceps, and pinchers. Some of these tools, somewhat modified, are still used for surgical purposes today. In contrast with the role played by surgery in the past, surgery is more important now than ever. Surgical technology and techniques are so advanced that surgery is able to accomplish what ancient surgeons never dreamed of. Surgery is used for a great variety of diseases, including cancer treatment. In fact, it is the oldest form of treatment for cancer and until the mid 20th century, surgery was considered the only treatment modality that could cure patients with cancer.
Other than its curative purpose, cancer surgery may be done as a diagnostic (staging) process or a preventive measure. Surgeries are also performed to relieve pain or repair deformities and abnormalities caused by surgical treatment for cancer.
Sometimes, surgeries for different purposes may take place simultaneously. For example, curative surgery may be performed right after a diagnostic surgery or a curative surgery may be followed by a reconstructive surgery.