Medical Dictionary of Bone Cancer

C A N C E R  I N F O R M A T I O N

Breast Cancer Surgery

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer your doctor will talk with you about breast cancer surgery and which one is right for you. The breast cancer surgery that is right for you will be decided upon many factors including the position and size of the cancer.

Lumpectomy is a breast cancer surgery that involves removing the lump from the breast, along with the tissue that surrounds the lump. A lumpectomy is a breast cancer surgery that is usually followed up by treatments of radiotherapy. Generally, a lumpectomy and radiotherapy is very effective in the early stages of breast cancer. A lumpectomy is considered the breast cancer surgery that is least invasive. It will leave a small scar and possibly a dent in the breast, but it removes the smallest amount of breast tissue from the breast.

Once the lump has been removed it will be sent off to a lab where it will be looked at and examined by a pathologist. If the lump does not have clear edges or cells that are free of cancer cells it is likely that the cancer will come back. Another surgery is generally scheduled to remove more breast tissue. If this breast tissue does not have a clear margin, then a mastectomy is usually scheduled.

A mastectomy is a breast cancer surgery that removes the whole breast. A mastectomy is usually chosen as the surgery choice if the lump is very large, there are different areas of cancer in the breast or if the lump is located behind the nipple. A simple mastectomy or single mastectomy only removes the breast. A simple mastectomy with node sampling involves removing the breast, as well as the lower lymph glands that are located in the armpit.

A modified radical mastectomy involves removing the breast tissue, as well as all of the lymph nodes that are in the armpit. A radical mastectomy is rare. It involves removing the entire breast, all of the lymph nodes in the armpit, as well as the muscles that are beneath or behind the breast. Breast reconstruction can be performed during the initial surgery or it can be scheduled for a later date.

The advantages of having a mastectomy are that the patient does not usually have to undergo radiotherapy and breast reconstruction can often be performed immediately.

The disadvantages of a mastectomy are, of course, that having an entire breast removed is very upsetting. It can take a while before you regain your confidence. The advantage of having a lumpectomy is that a woman can keep the natural shape of her breasts. The disadvantage is having to undergo radiotherapy which can have side effects. Women who have lumpectomies also worry that the cancer will come back.

Your doctor will talk with you about breast cancer surgery. Together you can decide which option is right for you based on the benefits and drawbacks of each breast cancer surgery.

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