Breast Cancer Surgery
The following describes surgical methods for treating breast cancer. For specific information regarding your health care options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
Hurley Breast Cancer Program: An Award-winning Center for Cancer Care
Your Hurley surgeon and oncologist will consult with you to determine the most appropriate surgical options for your individual situation, and to provide you with information on pre-operative preparation and post-operative care and recovery.
Based on your type of breast cancer, its stage, whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones, your overall health, and your own preferences, you and your doctor will determine which breast cancer treatment options to pursue. Most women who undergo surgery for breast cancer also receive additional treatment, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation.
Types of breast cancer surgeries:
1. Removing the breast cancer (lumpectomy): In a lumpectomy, the surgeon removes the tumor and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue. Lumpectomy is usually recommended for smaller tumors that are easily separated from the surrounding tissue.
2. Removing the entire breast (mastectomy): Mastectomy is surgery that removes all of your breast tissue. A simple mastectomy is when the surgeon removes all of the breast tissue: the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue and some skin, including the nipple and areola. A radical mastectomy also removes the underlying muscle of the chest wall, along with breast tissue and surrounding lymph nodes in the armpit.
3. Removing one lymph node (sentinel node biopsy): Breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes may also spread to other areas of the body. Your surgeon will determine which lymph node near your breast tumor is getting the lymph drainage from your cancer. This lymph node is then removed using a procedure called sentinel node biopsy and tested for breast cancer cells. If no cancer is found in this node, it is not likely that cancer will exist in any of the remaining lymph nodes, and therefore no other nodes need to be removed.
4. Removing several lymph nodes (axillary lymph node dissection): If cancer is indeed found in the sentinel node, your surgeon may remove additional lymph nodes in your armpit. However, solid evidence exists that removing additional affected lymph nodes does not improve a patient’s survival in cases of early breast cancer following a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and whole-breast irradiation for tumors less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in size, and where the cancer has spread to only a few lymph nodes in the armpit. In these cases, chemotherapy and radiation treatment after the lumpectomy have proven to be just as effective. This avoids the serious side effects, including chronic swelling of the arm (lymphedema), that often occur after lymph nodes are removed.
Some women choose to have breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery. This is something you need to discuss with your physician, as well as a Hurley plastic surgeon. Reconstruction options include a synthetic breast implant or reconstruction using your own tissue. These operations can be performed at the time of your breast surgery or at a later date.
Hurley Breast Health Nurse Navigator
From diagnosis to treatment to long-term follow-up, Hurley Medical Center’s Breast Health Nurse Navigator helps breast cancer patients navigate the complicated and stressful world of breast cancer. Click here for more information about the Breast Health Nurse Navigator program at Hurley Medical Center.