Breast Cancer Surgery / Mastectomy
Breast cancer surgery / Mastectomy is performed to remove the cancer-affected breast. Breast cancer surgery is performed as a single procedure or in combination with other treatment methods such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation therapy. There are different surgical procedures performed depending on the size and stage of the cancer that includes:
- Mastectomy: Surgery to remove the complete breast
- Lumpectomy : Wide excision or removal of breast lump along with surrounding normal tissue.
- Axillary Dissection: Surgery to remove associated lymph nodes
- Reconstruction Surgery: To renovate lost breast with breast implants
Breast cancer surgery is recommended to treat various stages of breast cancer and includes:
- Women with High Risk of Breast Cancer: Women with a strong family history of the disease condition are recommended to perform certain tests to understand the chances for the condition and perform mastectomy as an option to prevent breast cancer. They can choose for breast reconstruction surgery to replace the entire breast.
- Noninvasive Breast Cancer: Women diagnosed with non invasive breast cancer can undergo lumpectomy.
- Early-stage Breast Cancer: Breast cancer at early stages can be treated with lumpectomy or mastectomy with or without breast reconstruction.
- Larger Breast Cancers and Locally Advanced Breast Cancers: Advanced stages of breast cancer are treated with mastectomy.
- Recurrent Breast Cancer: Breast cancers that reoccur after preliminary treatments are removed with mastectomy.
Based on the stage of the condition, these procedures can be followed by Chemotherapy, Hormonal therapy, or Radiation to prevent local or distant tumor reoccurrence.
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. The purpose of screening is to look for the presence of cancer before there are any symptoms or signs of the disease. Cancer is most curable at an early stage, and the goal of screening is to detect the presence of cancer at a very early stage itself. Screening helps in lowering the chances of death or eliminating deaths from cancer altogether.
There are different ways of screening for breast cancer:
- Self Breast Examination
- Clinical Breast Examination
- Thermal Scan of Breast
Types of Mastectomy
Total Mastectomy / Simple Mastectomy
Removes all breast tissue but leaves the pectoral muscles beneath. Total mastectomy can be performed on one breast (unilateral) or both breasts (bilateral).
Double Mastectomy (Bilateral Mastectomy)
Total mastectomy of both breasts. Bilateral mastectomy is performed if there is cancer in both breasts.
Skin-Sparing Mastectomy or Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy
Removes the breast tissue but spares the skin or nipple.
Mastectomy with Breast Reconstruction
Depending on the condition of the patient and based on the treatment plan, breast reconstruction surgery can be performed at the same time after mastectomy or later in a separate surgery.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
Removes all the breast tissue and the underarm lymph nodes on the same side.
Removes all the breast tissue, the pectoral muscles underneath, and underarm lymph nodes. This may become necessary if the cancer has spread to your muscles.
Breast Conservation Surgery (BCS)
- Removes Tumor and surrounding margin.
- Possible when tumor is not very large
- Only single focus of tumor
- Breast shape reasonably —- axillary clearance
- Removal of Lymph nodes from axilla
- Good for tumor clearance
The Breast cancer surgery is initiated by the surgeon by administering a dose of anesthesia to relax the patient and to be in a sleep-like state. The surgeon makes an incision in the breast and removes the cancerous tissues and surrounding tissues from the area. The length and location of the incision depends on the site of the cancer within the breast. The lymph nodes in the armpit are also examined. A few lymph nodes in which the tumor has reached are also removed. After removing the entire or part of the cancer affected breast the surgeon closes the incision using dissolvable stitches to reduce scarring.
Reconstruction surgery can be performed immediately or later, after the breast cancer surgery. During a breast reconstruction surgery, the breast can be reconstructed in two methods: using an implant or by tissues obtained from other parts of the body. Breast implants are used for immediate reconstruction of the breast and the implants are filled with silicone gel or saline solution. Breast reconstruction using body tissue involves relocation or body tissues using a pedicle flap or free flap surgery.