Advanced Tumor Resection in Houston Improves Outcomes
For many cancer patients, surgery remains the primary treatment. Cancers that are localized may be safely removed, and the surgical oncologists at UT MIST, a division within the UTHealth Department of Surgery, offer specialized treatment. These specialists perform surgery for a variety of gastrointestinal cancers, cutaneous malignancies (e.g. skin cancers), and other solid tumors.
Our surgical oncology specialists in Houston are fellowship trained and provide individualized minimally invasive approaches for a wide variety of malignancies. Minimally invasive surgical oncology includes complex laparoscopy, as well as advanced robotic surgery. UT MIST has pioneered robotic surgery and was first in the Texas Medical Center to perform robotic surgery for pancreas cancer and liver surgery using the new daVinci Xi system. By using minimally invasive techniques and evidence-based medicine, our surgeons seek to minimize post-operative pain and recovery times for cancer patients, while improving functional outcomes.
Why Surgical Oncology?
There are many cancers treated with surgery. In addition, there are many types of treatments that can be applied to cancer patients. Surgical treatment depends upon the type of cancer, how advanced it is, where it is located in the body, and more. The best approach for some patients may be chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination of methods. Our multidisciplinary team of oncologists tailors the treatment recommendation using evidence-based guidelines in order to provide the best possible outcome.
The surgeons at UT MIST perform operations covering the following disease sites:
- esophageal cancer
- gastric tumors and cancer: gastrointestinal stromal tumors, gastric neuroendocrine tumors, gastric cancer
- liver/bile duct cancer: hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma, choledochal cyst, colorectal liver metastases
- pancreas tumors and cancer: benign pancreatic tumors, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, pancreatic cancer and pseudocysts
- colorectal cancer: appendiceal masses, colon cancer, rectal cancer
- endocrine/adrenal: thyroid masses, thyroid cancer, parathyroid diseases, adrenal masses
- melanoma/sarcoma: soft tissue tumors and skin cancers
- breast cancer
Although cancer surgery can be effective, prevention and early detection remain the best defenses against cancer.
Screening and Treatment for Cancer in Houston
Cancer screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. Screening tests conducted by your Texas oncologist can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure with surgical oncology or other methods. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread, which can make the cancer harder to treat or cure.
It is important to remember that when your doctor suggests a screening test, the recommendation does not always mean he or she thinks you have cancer and require surgical oncology. Screening tests are done when you have no cancer symptoms. Choose a cancer doctor in Houston who patients find reliable and experienced to run your tests.
Screening tests include the following:
- Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including searching for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
- Laboratory tests: Certain medical procedures can test samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body for signs of cancer.
- Imaging procedures: These create pictures of areas inside the body, which can reveal tumors that may or may not be malignant.
- Genetic tests: Special tests can look for certain gene mutations (changes) that are linked to some types of cancer.
For people aged 20 or older having periodic health exams, a cancer-related check-up should include health counseling and, depending on a person’s age and gender, exams for cancers of the thyroid, oral cavity, skin, lymph nodes, testes, and ovaries, as well as for some non-malignant (non-cancerous) diseases.
Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk:
- Stay away from tobacco.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Get moving with regular physical activity.
- Eat healthy, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
- Protect your skin.
- Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
- Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests by an oncologist that Houston residents recommend.
Information in this section was adapted from the National Cancer Society and American Cancer Society.
Benefits and Risks of Surgical Oncology in Houston
MIST surgeons are experts in the field and are extensively trained in minimally invasive surgery techniques. This training means they can provide a more accurate and safer surgery that leads to a shorter recovery time. Our cancer doctors in Houston are frequently recommended by previous surgical oncology patients.
One advantage to surgery is that it is meant to excise cancerous tissue completely and deliver the best chances for cure. After surgery, it may not be necessary to have radiotherapy, which means fewer unwanted side effects. A successful surgical oncology treatment can also result in a faster total recovery time than many other methods.
Another advantage is that the UT MIST oncologists are able to treat only affected areas and leave healthy tissue in place and unaltered. This can have a cosmetic benefit, since precision-based surgical oncology minimizes scarring and other surgery-related signs of cancer removal.
Our surgical oncologists will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment, go over the pros and cons of surgical oncology, and give you various options, including the types of surgery available.
UT MIST surgical oncology emphasizes applying the latest, proven research to patient care. This includes novel clinical trials in collaboration with UTHealth Medical and Radiation Oncology. Outcomes are tracked and measured by both the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP). This ensures the best possible care is provided to our cancer patients.
Contact our surgical oncology team today to learn more about screening, treatment options, and more at our Houston cancer center.
UT MIST Surgical Oncology
Richard J. Andrassy, M.D. is the chair of the UTHealth Department of Surgery at the McGovern Medical School and professor in the Division of Minimally Invasive and Elective General Surgery. As a nationally respected adult and pediatric surgeon, he specializes in minimally invasive hernia repair and surgical oncology. Read his bio
Emily Robinson, M.D. is professor in the University of Texas Medical School at Houston’s Division of Minimally Invasive and Elective General Surgery. She specializes in breast and endocrine surgical oncology. Read her bio
Todd Wilson, M.D. is an associate professor in the University of Texas Medical School at Houston’s Division of Minimally Invasive and Elective General Surgery. He specializes in minimally invasive techniques for all general surgery, including bariatric, colorectal, solid organ, and hernia surgeries. Read his bio
Peter Walker, M.D. is an assistant fellowship program director and assistant professor in the Division of Elective General Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He specializes in advanced laparoscopic, robotic, and endoscopic surgery for general and gastrointestinal surgery, including bariatric (weight loss) surgery, reflux, hernias and abdominal wall reconstruction, colon surgery, endocrine surgery (thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal), and solid organ surgery. Read his bio
Shinil K. Shah, D.O. is a medical director of clinical research and assistant professor in the Division of Elective General Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He specializes in advanced laparoscopic, robotic, and endoscopic surgery for general and gastrointestinal surgery, including bariatric (weight loss) surgery, reflux, hernias and abdominal wall reconstruction, colon surgery, endocrine (thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal) surgery, and solid organ surgery. Read his bio
Curtis J. Wray, M.D., M.S. is associate professor at UTHealth and the Division of Minimally Invasive and Elective General Surgery. His clinical focus in gastrointestinal cancers and research interests include clinical outcomes and cancer-related health care disparities. Read his bio
Get Answers for Questions About Breast Cancer and Surgical Oncology
While the surgical oncology team at UT MIST is well-versed in treating a wide variety of cancers, patients dealing with breast cancer often want information specific to their particular condition. Learn more about breast cancer signs, detection, and treatment at the UT Breast Center, led by Drs. Emily Robinson, Tamara Saunders, and Gretchen Zimmerman.