Treatment Options

As the surgical staff of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Georgia's only NCI Designated Cancer Center and metropolitan Atlanta's only Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia-certified Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers, our surgeons can offer the most cutting edge technologies available due to their involvement in progressive bench and clinical research.

Conditions we treat:

Adrenal Cancer
Breast Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)
Head and Neck Cancer
Liver Tumors
Melanoma
Pancreatic Cancer
Sarcoma

Some of the treatments listed below may involve neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy administered prior to surgery). 

Adrenal Cancer 

Our surgeons are experts in the management of complex adrenal tumors, including the appropriate use and application of minimally invasive, multimodal, and trial-based therapy.

Breast Cancer 

Today, breast conserving surgery is the standard of care in treating breast cancer. Many studies have consistently shown that breast conserving surgery used with radiation therapy is just as effective as total mastectomy in treating early-stage breast cancer.

The choice of surgery is made after thorough discussion with your surgeon. Breast cancer surgery types include:

Lumpectomy: Removes the tumor and a small wedge of surrounding tissue.

Partial or Segmental Mastectomy: The tumor and an area of tissue around it are removed.

Total Mastectomy: Removes the breast tissue, nipple, areola.

Modified Radical Mastectomy: Removes the breast, nipple, areola, and underarm lymph nodes.

Skin Sparing Mastectomy: May be used when performing a simple or total mastectomy and removes the breast tissues from a circular incision around the areola. This method is often selected when reconstructive surgery is performed.

Oncoplastic Breast Conserving Surgery: The procedure combines breast cancer surgery and reconstructive surgery during the same operation, enabling patients to save their breasts and avoid mastectomy.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy: Removal of the first nodes that may receive drainage from a cancerous tumor. If these nodes are identified as negative or as not having any tumor cells inside, further node dissection may be unnecessary.

Axillary Node Biopsy:The majority of the lymphatic fluid leaving the breast is drained through the axillary nodes located in the area of the armpit. Should any sentinel lymph nodes prove to contain cancer cells, an axillary node dissection may be completed at the time of the final breast surgery. This will give an accurate picture of the number of nodes involved with the cancer and provide guidance for a proper treatment plan.

Colorectal Cancer 

Our surgeons have extensive experience in the management of primary colon cancer and our service is a referral center for complex colon cancers, especially recurrent and metastatic colon cancer. When appropriate, debulking and peritoneal perfusion is available. While we offer all types of colon surgery such as proctectomy with coloanal anastomosis, abdominoperineal resection or APR, and total mesorectal excision and subtotal colectomies, partial colectomy (segmental resection) is most frequently used. This procedure involves removing the cancer plus a section of normal tissue on either side of it and any local lymph nodes. Occasionally a temporary or permanent colostomy is needed.

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)

The surgical approach used to treat GIST depends on many factors, including the anatomical site of the tumors, the location of the tumors relative to blood supply to the organ, and the patient's overall medical condition. GIST can occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, from the esophagus to the anus, and any section of this tract may be removed or resected. For optimal therapy, this type of tumor demands an extensive knowledge of the use and indications for both adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy as well as a multi-team approach, all of which are readily accessible at Winship.

Head and Neck Cancer 

Most commonly, a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy is used for the treatment of these cancers.

Liver Tumors 

Our surgeons continue to lead this field, publishing studies on the use of different approaches for the removal of liver tumors, applying treatment modalities other than the standard procedures for the management of these tumors when appropriate, and performing transplantation when needed. Our surgical team has extensive experience in complex liver surgery as well as surgery of the bile duct and gall bladder and performs over 100 liver resections annually. Chemotherapy and radiation may be used before or after surgery.

Melanoma 

As a referral center for melanoma treatment in the region, Emory continues to offer comprehensive melanoma care. In addition to being one of the few centers in the United States to offer isolated limb infusion for disease isolated to either an arm or leg, available procedures include sentinel lymph node biopsy, lymph node dissection, and aggressive resection for metastatic disease.

Our program is currently the only service in the world to offer an exciting new minimally invasive procedure for removing lymph nodes from the groin region that was modified at Emory. Dr. Keith Delman helped develop the new approach, which involves three half-inch incisions made in the thigh instead of the single large incision used in the traditional method. Compared to the standard open method, the procedure has shown a significant reduction in complications like infection and leg swelling. 

The melanoma program offers a vast array of clinical trials for all stages of melanoma.     

Pancreatic Cancer 

Parts or the entire pancreas may be removed depending on the location and stage of the cancer. The whipple procedure can be used when the cancer is in the head of the pancreas and involves the removal of the head of the pancreas and parts of the bile ducts, small intestine, and stomach; distal pancreatectomy removes the body and tail of the pancreas and the spleen; and total pancreatectomy removes the entire pancreas, part of the small intestine, a portion of the stomach, the common bile duct, the gallbladder, the spleen, and nearby lymph nodes. Our surgeons' investigations of the use and applicability of a minimally invasive approach to pancreas surgery as well as the role of blood transfusions and other interventions in the outcomes from pancreas cancer have been highly influential.

Sarcoma 

A regional referral center for sarcomas, Emory is one of the highest volume sarcoma centers in the southeast. Using a multidisciplinary approach and a weekly tumor board, the sarcoma surgeons at Emory work with orthopedic oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists to offer comprehensive management of these complex tumors. Generally, the tumor is removed along with a margin of normal tissue around it. In the past, amputation was often used if the tumor involved the arm or leg, but this can often be avoided with new limb sparing procedures. Surgery is also used to remove tumors that have metastasized.

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