In this article we will look at the different types of breast surgery that you may be offered if you have breast cancer.
However before any operation takes place the surgeon will talk to you and discuss with you the most appropriate type of surgery for your particular case of breast cancer.
It should also be remembered that no surgery will take place prior to you consenting to it.
Where breast surgery is concerned the type of surgery that will be performed depends on the size of the cancer in your breast, whether it has spread to any other parts of your body and also personal preference.
However, if your cancer has already been diagnosed then your surgeon will talk to you about the type of surgery that you will need. Although there may be times when the surgeon can not make a decision on what type of surgery he carries out as they do not have a definite diagnosis on the type of cancer that you have. Therefore they may need to carry out a small operation to remove some of the lump in order to examine under a microscope before taking the rest out.
The types of breast surgery that you may have are as follows:
1. Mastectomy – Removal of the whole breast.
2. Lumpectomy or Wide Local Excision – Where only the lump is removed from the breast.*
3. Segmentectomy – This where just part of the breast is removed.*
*These second two options are also known as conservative surgery.
In some cases a patient who has had breast surgery for cancer may need to under go radiotherapy afterwards and this is particular true for those who have either a lumpectomy or Segmentectomy surgery. This lowers the risk of that patient having their cancer returning as it will hopefully kill off the rest of cancer cells if any left after the surgery has taken place. Whilst in other cases patients who have had a mastectomy may find that they are having radiotherapy to the lymph nodes above the collar bone to make sure that all cancerous cells have been removed. Normally the surgeon will discuss what kind of treatment you will have with the radiotherapist once the results from the surgery are back. Unfortunately not radiotherapy treatment can be planned until after the operation has been carried out.
There are many reasons as to why a surgeon will recommend a particular kind of breast surgery, but they will try their utmost to follow a patient’s wishes. In some cases some women would like to keep their breast at all costs, whilst others may prefer to have a mastectomy (because they feel that once the breast is gone the cancer will be gone also) or it is because the do not wish to have radiotherapy. In fact a great deal of research has been carried out and has proved that there is no difference in the outcome whether a patient has a mastectomy or conservative surgery with radiotherapy instead. In fact it has been found that both forms of treatment work equally well in treating breast cancer.