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Lymphoma and Pets
Lymphoma surgery is an uncommon treatment option in lymphomas. Despite all the advances in anti-cancer treatments over the past one hundred years—-radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted treatments, and more—-the single most common treatment for cancer patients, the one that brings about the highest cure rate across all cancers, remains the same as it always has been: Surgery.
Sometimes referred to as resection, surgery to remove solid tumors remains the top dog in cancer treatment. It is used to bring about cures and is also sometimes used in an exploratory fashion to determine the stage of a disease. However, this common procedure has virtually no place in the treatment of lymphoma.
The overwhelming majority of patients undergoing lymphoma treatment for several subtypes are likely to undergo no more than a one or two surgical procedures. Most will endure an excisional biopsy to remove a swollen lymph node for analysis by a qualified pathologist.
Even when a lymphoma patient presents with a bulky mass in the chest, for example, the mass is more likely to be treated with radiation and/or combination chemotherapy. While this is an invasive procedure, it is hardly on par with the procedures involved in other cancers to remove malignant tumors.
The other lymphoma surgery procedure, which is invasive but not surgical, is a bone marrow biopsy.
Despite the fact that resection (the most effective treatment in most cancers for bringing about cures) is extraordinarily uncommon in the treatment of lymphomas, over the past four decades the so-called blood cancers—-lymphoma and leukemia-—have enjoyed the biggest improvement in treatment successes and overall survival.