Breast Cancer Surgery

The following is an overview, from the National Cancer Institute, of the surgical options that may be available to you:

1. Lumpectomy: A surgical procedure to remove a tumor (lump) and a small amount of normal tissue around it. This procedure is considered breast-conserving surgery.

2. Partial or segmental mastectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the part of the breast that has cancer and some normal tissue around it. This is also breast-conserving surgery.

Patients who are treated with breast-conserving surgery may also have some of the lymph nodes under the arm removed for biopsy. This procedure is called lymph node dissection. It may be done at the same time as the breast-conserving surgery or after. Lymph node dissection is done through a separate incision.

Other types of surgery include the following:

 3. Total mastectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the whole breast that has cancer. This procedure is also called a simple mastectomy. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may be removed for biopsy at the same time as the breast surgery or after. This is done through a separate incision.

4. Modified radical mastectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the whole breast that has cancer, many of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes, part of the chest wall muscles.

5. Radical mastectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the breast that has cancer, chest wall muscles under the breast and all of the lymph nodes under the arm.

Even if the doctor removes all of the cancer that can be seen at the time of surgery, the patient may be given radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy after surgery to try to kill any cancer cells that may be left.

If a patient is going to have a mastectomy, breast reconstruction may be considered. Breast reconstruction may be done at the time of the mastectomy or at a future time.

Source: National Cancer Institute

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Breast Cancer Surgery