Surgical Oncology

Surgical Oncology at St. Luke's

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a surgery that involves injecting dye around a tumor in order to find a single lymph node at risk for the spread of cancer. SNLB is available at St. Luke’s for patients with breast, lung and colon cancer, or for those with melanoma.

SLNB is beneficial to patients because it...

  • Reduces the need for major surgery by 70 percent.
  • Greatly increases the accuracy of determining whether a tumor has spread.

Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)

Radio Frequency Ablation may be performed in an operating room by a surgeon for liver or lung tumors. RFA transforms high-energy radio signals into intense heat that destroys inoperable tumors. The procedure is similar to a microwave oven, heating the tumor from the inside out. St. Luke’s Dr. Lee Riley is an expert in RFA and has taught the procedure in the U.S. and abroad.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a minimally invasive surgery used to treat or relieve symptoms of the following conditions...

  • Barrett’s Esophagus – A condition in which the normal lining of the lower part of the esophagus changes into pre-cancerous abnormal cells over time.
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer

During PDT:

  • A surgeon injects a special drug into the bloodstream. The drug is absorbed by cells in the body; it remains in cancer cells longer than in normal cells.
  • One to three days after the injection, the surgeon exposes the tumor to a laser light directed through thin cables inside the body.
  • The drug in the abnormal cells absorbs the light and makes oxygen that kills nearby cancer cells.

PDT also appears to shrink or destroy tumors by harming blood vessels in the tumor, preventing the cancer from receiving nutrients. PDT also may activate the immune system to attack the tumor cells.

For more information about the Photodynamic Therapy, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Surgical Insertion of Liver Pumps

Surgeons can insert a liver pump in the body to deliver high doses of chemotherapy directly to the liver tumor. The pump connects to artery that supplies blood to liver tumors. In this process...

  • Chemotherapy is delivered to the tumor in high concentrations.
  • Chemotherapy then is thinned out throughout the rest of the body. This greatly decreases the usual side effects the drug.

Laparoscopic Surgery for Liver Tumors

Laparoscopic liver resections are being performed at St. Luke's University Hospital-Bethlehem Campus by fellowship-trained surgical oncologists Roderick Quiros, MD and Darius Desai, MD of St. Luke's Cancer Care Associates. While laparoscopic surgery has been used extensively for other types of surgical procedures, it seldom has been employed for major liver operations.

  • This procedure is most appropriate for patients with localized tumors. Tumors can originate in the liver itself or can present as metastatic disease.
  • The surgery also is dependent on the number, extent and size of the lesions present, as well as the patient's having adequate liver function.

With the laparoscopic surgery approach, St. Luke's surgical oncologists are able to use small incisions, resulting in less pain after surgery, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.

Other specialty surgeries

  • Cryosurgery
  • Laser surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Robotically assisted surgery