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Surgical and Minimally Invasive Services

After a cancer diagnosis, a surgeon will often surgically remove the tumor and nearby affected tissue during an operation. Surgery is used as an effective treatment for many types of cancer today. At Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, our surgeons have extensive knowledge of cancer treatment surgical techniques, and are focused on treating you with humankindness from day one.

When are surgical and minimally invasive services needed?

During cancer treatment you may require inpatient surgery and need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer to recover. Or you may need an outpatient surgery that is done during the day and allows you to return home to heal following the procedure. There are a number of reasons to have surgery in the treatment of cancer. They include to:

  • Remove all, a part of the cancer, or suspicious tissue
  • Remove a part of the tumor to help other treatments be more effective
  • Restore the body’s appearance or function
  • Relieve side effects, pain or pressure


The surgical staff at St. Joseph's provides a complete range of surgical oncology services. Our surgical specialists will work with each patient’s oncology team to determine which surgery method will provide the best cancer treatment outcome.

Comprehensive surgical options:

Some of the surgical options at St. Joseph’s include:

DaVinci Surgical System

The da Vinci Surgical System is a sophisticated robotic platform designed to enable complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach.


Patients with brain and spinal cord tumors have access to St. Joseph's internationally known Barrow Neurological Institute. Barrow Neurological Institute is one of the largest neuroscience centers in the world, providing complete neurosurgery services for a variety of conditions.

Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery

Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) is an alternative to radical abdominal surgery for the removal of polyps and early stage cancer. TEM is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the removal of lesions in hard-to-reach areas that typically require major surgery.

Other surgical oncology options include:

  • Minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery can be performed for many abdominal cancers
  • Image-guided cancer surgery and state-of-the-art sentinel lymph node biopsy are also performed for different types of cancer.


Types of surgical and minimally invasive services

  • Diagnostic surgical biopsy
    • Incisional biopsy – removal of a piece of the suspicious area to study
    • Excisional biopsy – removal of the whole suspicious area, such as a mole or a lump
  • Staging surgery
  • Primary surgery or tumor removal
  • Conventional surgery
  • Debulking
  • Palliative surgery
  • Reconstruction
  • Minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgeries
    • Laparoscopic surgery
    • Mediastinoscopy and thoracoscopy
    • Laser surgery
    • Cryosurgery

Multidisciplinary Approach to Cancer Care

Patients of Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s know they are receiving precision medicine from a multidisciplinary team of experienced cancer experts.