Breast cancer is a very difficult fight for many women in the United States. The battle against breast cancer and cancerous tumors starts with surgery; and because of improved surgical techniques and novel treatments, the statistics for breast cancer survival are improving. Finding and excising a tumor in the breast as soon as possible offers a patient the highest likelihood of a successful course of treatment with the least breast tissue damage.
When you consider surgery to remove a breast tumor, it is important you speak to your oncologist and surgeon to fully understand the options that are available, some of which follow:
Mastectomy: A mastectomy removes breast tissue in order to ensure that all of the cancerous growth has been eliminated from the body. In a simple or total mastectomy, the lymph nodes under the arms are not removed. For more aggressive cancers, or those that have been detected in later stages, a modified radical mastectomy may be needed which removes lymph nodes, but usually spares the chest muscle.
A mastectomy is not only for those who already have cancer, but sometimes an option for those who have a high likelihood of developing cancer. A prophylactic mastectomy, when a patient preemptively removes the breast in order to avoid the possibility of cancer, is a very personal choice.
Lumpectomy: For smaller or localized tumors, a lumpectomy is a viable option. It is very similar to a partial mastectomy (the terms are often used interchangeably) in that it removes only the cancerous tumor as well as some of the surrounding healthy tissue. While cosmetically advantageous over a mastectomy, a lumpectomy comes with a higher risk of not removing all cancerous cells.
Choosing between different forms of breast surgery is a highly personal decision, and ultimately, the progression of the disease may decide which procedure is right for you. However, if caught soon enough, there may be multiple treatment options. No matter which procedure is chosen, there is the possibility of cosmetic reconstruction of the breast.
We look forward to assisting you in creating a solution that is best for your health and the aesthetics of your breast.