Treating Your Tumor
The diagnosis of your tumor or tumor-like lesion will determine your treatment options. Many lesions are treated by observation and repeated physical exam and imaging studies. Some benign tumors require surgery and/or the use of an adjuvant treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation, but this is rare. Malignant tumors generally require some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Your diagnosis will determine the appropriate treatment.
- Surgery: Physical removal of the tumor through use of instruments. Malignant tumors are generally removed with a region of normal tissue about the tumor in order to ensure that no tumor is left behind. Successful tumor removal is determined by a pathologist, whom assesses the margins of the tumor. The goal is to obtain “negative” margins, which indicates that the tumor is not present at the margins of the specimen. Benign tumors may be removed with positive margins.
- Chemotherapy: Intravenous infusion of medications that are toxic to the tumor with the goal of killing the tumor.
- Radiation therapy: The application of ionizing radiation to the tumor in order to cause damage to the tumor’s DNA and prevent the tumor cells from dividing.