General Surgery

Surgical Oncology by Mahir Özmen

Surgical Oncology is the field of medicine that concentrates on surgical methods to detect, stage and treat cancer.


Prof. Mahir Özmen, M.D.

General Surgery

Gastrointestinal system which is the major field of interest of surgical oncology is a very complex environment where multiple organs and systems are working together, of which all of these organs may develop specific types of cancers. This complexity requires sub-specialization to be able to sustain high level of success by surgery. In Turkey this discipline is a sub-specialty recognized by Ministry of Health and surgeons are accepted to this program only after a solid experience in general surgery.


Detection at the early stage is vitally important since the success rate of treatment increases when physicians can interfere early and also severity of the treatment itself reduces. Diagnosis is generally by biopsy with endoscopic methods and after the diagnose radiological and nuclear medicine modalities clarify the spread of cancer within the body.

Multidisciplinary Nature

The nature of cancer requires a high cooperation and collaborative decision making in between Surgeon, Medical Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist and the Radiology Specialist, to choose the best treatment option for each patient. In many cases chemotherapy and/or radiation oncology treatment accompany before and/or after the surgery, even during the actual surgery in some specific methods. Therefore in many hospitals there are Tumor Councils to determine and supervise the best treatment protocol for each individual.


The surgical procedure varies widely due to the organ and system that tumor affects. Ultimate goal of the procedure is to create a tumor-free R0 resection that means not to leave any tumor cells behind. Although the target is this it is not always possible to reach a R0 resection. Both microscopic tumor remains than means R1 resection and gross remains that corresponds to R2 resection, require chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy following the surgery.

Treatment and Recovery Period

It is not possible to give a standard treatment or recovery period since surgical oncology covers a very wide range of surgical procedures, pre-operative or post-operative supporting treatments. Since every individual’s journey is different, it is best to hear expectations directly from your physician after the treatment plan is set.

Prof. Mahir Özmen, M.D.

General Surgery
  • Medical School, Ankara University – Turkey
  • General Surgery, Ankara University- Turkey
  • Master of Surgery, Southampton University – England
  • Hacettepe University -Turkey
  • Professor since 2010
  • Sub-specialty on Surgical Oncology 2012
  • Works in İstanbul and Ankara
  • Liv Hospital Group

Prof. Mahir Özmen is one of the highly acknowledged Oncosurgeons of Turkey alongside his academic accomplishments that makes him a recognized international surgeon. He has published over 200 research papers with 4000 citations that carries himself to a very high H-index which is an international measure of academic performance.

He holds many international titles including American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASBMS), Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons Glascow FRCSİ, Fellow of European Board of Surgery FEBS etc. and acts as an international teaching and governing surgeon who trains surgeons from all around the world.

Prof. Özmen speaks about the surgical oncology procedure and he actually divides into two main categories, tumors in the upper GI (gastrointestinal) and tumors in the lower GI due to different surgical approach and techniques. Whatever the type of surgery is, the target of it should be to create a tumor free resection (R0) where surgeon leaves no cells of tumor behind.

If it is R1, it means micro-tumors are left behind where you can’t see the tumor left behind with naked eye and if it is R2 it means you can still see the tumor left behind. In these cases, radio or chemotherapy is required after the initial procedure. So Prof. Mahir Özmen specifies his main goal is curative surgery, that means to do extensive surgery in order to leave no tumor behind.

Prof. Özmen emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary approach and underlines the need for a team of physicians from different disciplines who can discuss the best option for selected cases. He underlines the strength of his center by stating that they have access to laparoscopic, robotic or open surgery and he and his team possesses vast experience to deal with any size or location of tumor.

“Yes, the number of cases of the surgeon who perform the procedure is very important, but it is not everything”

Although he has performed a huge number of cases in oncosurgery, Prof. Mahir Özmen prefers to emphasize the importance of “being complete” rather than being “only a technician”, underlying reading, writing and strengthening the academic side.

“You need Best Surgeon, very well-equipped hospital, a talented and well-educated team of surgery in order to overcome any complications”

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