Palliation, like class, is hard to describe but easy to recognize. The authors describe palliative surgery as comprising 12.5% of total surgical operations (not "surgeries"!). They emphasize the difficulties in both definition and evaluation of efficacy. One might surely question their definitions by examining the examples given in Table 4. Most surgeons would not see the diagnosis of metastatic cancer as a palliative procedure but rather a diagnostic one. Similarly, local control in the absence of metastatic disease would seem to be a primary treatment.
Brennan MF. Surgical Palliation at a Cancer Center—Invited Critique. Arch Surg. 2001;136(7):778. doi:10.1001/archsurg.136.7.778