Breast Cancer Surgery

 

Breast Cancer SurgeryBreast cancer is a serious issue facing women today.  Approximately one in eight (12%) women in the United States will experience breast cancer in their lifetime. Statistics provided by the American Cancer Society show that over 232,000 new cases of breast cancer (the invasive type), will be diagnosed in 2013. Over 64,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ will be discovered while nearly 40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2013.

There are different surgeries available to treat breast cancer depending on the size, location, and patient preference.  Women who are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or smaller breast cancers may have the option to undergo breast-sparing surgery which as the name suggests can save the breast.    Mastectomy which requires the complete removal of the breast is used in cases of extensive DCIS, large tumors, and inflammatory breast cancers.  The mastectomy performed today is called a modified radical mastectomy which means the chest wall muscle is left intact.

Breast-saving surgery is sometimes referred to as partial mastectomy or lumpectomy because it only removes the part of the breast that is affected as well as a small amount of normal breast tissue. The amount of tissue removed depends on the size and location of the cancer.   In some cases, chemotherapy will follow surgery.  All patients who undergo lumpectomy/partial mastectomy/breast-sparing surgery, radiation treatment is normally required to treat any remaining cancer tissue.

Quadrantectomy is basically a lumpectomy that is taken one step further and removes even more surrounding tissue during surgery. This surgery usually takes one quarter of the affected breast.  As with a lumpectomy surgery, radiation treatments are normally needed.

During the initial workup process for breast cancer, your doctor will perform a biopsy as well as some imaging tests.  Prior to surgery, your doctor should a visit to go over questions and concerns.

In some cases such as a mastectomy, you may be asked to donate blood just in the rare case a transfusion is needed during surgery. Verifying with your doctor, prior to surgery, about any possible need of a transfusion can save you concern later. In the United States it is very safe to receive blood transfusions from donor blood.

The actual surgery depends on what you are having done. You may be offered an outpatient option (you go home the same day) or admission to hospital. General anesthesia is usually administered during all breast cancer surgery operations.

Depending on the type of breast cancer surgery chosen, reconstruction of the breast may be desired. Stanford uses several methods here, including a water filled tissue expander placed in the chest wall to create a void for future, permanent breast implants. Another option is to transfer tissue from the abdomen or back to fill where the cancerous tissue was removed. Other options include using fat and muscle tissues from other areas of the body.  The last part of reconstruction is usually tattooing of a nipple on the reconstructed breast.

If you are concerned that you have breast cancer, or know someone that may, please contact your doctor immediately. Cancer of any kind is not a matter to be taken lightly.  Diagnosed and treated early, breast cancer can be less invasive and and has less risk of spread.

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris was born in Europe but has lived in the US for many years. He attended college both in Europe and the US and completed medical school at the University of Texas. Residency and fellowship in oncology was completed at Baylor. Read More...
Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton

Dr. Chris Charlton