The Division of Surgical Oncology was created within the Department of Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center to provide advanced surgical treatment for cancer patients and to foster cancer research and education. The goals of this division are to provide the most comprehensive, progressive surgical management available for individuals with cancer; to educate students, residents and physicians in these methods; and to expand research in cancer or like diseases.
Surgical oncologic care encompasses a wide range of malignancies, including those affecting the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas, biliary system, breast, esophagus, melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma. A large variety of advanced operations such as limb salvage procedures for soft tissue sarcoma and liver resections for primary and metastatic carcinoma are performed. In addition, infusional hepatic chemotherapy and cryoablation of liver tumors have been added to the surgical armamentarium. Surgery on gastric, pancreatic, colon, rectum and esophageal cancers are routinely performed.
Brachytherapy for soft tissue sarcomas of the extremity and trunk is now routinely used after a resection. In addition, sentinel lymph node biopsy for melanomas of appropriate depth is performed routinely.
For the best management of cancer patients, surgical oncology has a close working relationship with the medical oncology and radiation therapy departments. Several joint conferences, at which in-depth analysis of particular tumor types and complex treatment planning are discussed, are held each week for staff at Hines VA and Loyola University Medical Center. It is the intention of this division to re-emphasize the role of the surgeon in clinical trials for treatment of patients with cancer.
The Division of Surgical Oncology directs a multi-disciplinary breast care center in the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. The breast care center combines the efforts of surgical and medical oncologists, radiation therapists, mammographers and cytologists in providing consultative and therapeutic care to patients with surgical disease of the breast. These efforts have resulted in women with early breast cancer being offered a choice between breast conservation and mastectomy. Those who choose mastectomy are offered immediate reconstruction when appropriate.
A multidisciplinary gastrointestinal oncology center for patients with complex problems related to these types of malignancies is another area of involvement for the Division of Surgical Oncology. The majority of patients referred to this center are seen in consultation by the faculty of surgical oncology, gastroenterology, medical oncology and radiation oncology, and the surgical house staff.
The Division of Surgical Oncology is also involved with the Pigment and Nevus Clinic that meets on a regular basis in the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. Here, in addition to evaluating patients for surgery and adjunctive treatment, a new protocol to study the role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in the management of regional failure of metastatic melanoma will be studied.
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