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Breast Cancer Surgery

Cancer that starts in the breast tissue is called breast cancer. The type of breast cancer you have and your general health will determine the treatment you need. A surgical operation or breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, gene therapy, and radiotherapy are all included in the group of treatments available for breast cancer.

What Do You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Surgery?

The surgical technique for breast cancer is an essential part of the condition’s treatment, and it entails removing the malignant growth with an operation. 

Your care will be determined by the origin of cancer, its size, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body, as well as your general health status. A group of physicians and other experts will determine the right surgery and palliative care for you.

Do You Qualify to Undergo Breast Cancer Surgery?

Predicting how preoperative drug therapy can help reduce tumor size is a task for the medical oncologist. Chemotherapy can be prescribed before or after surgery, based on the pathology and genetics of the tumor. 

You may want to see a breast surgeon or a doctor if you experience the following symptoms:

  • You detect a knot or bundle between your breasts, or a mammogram reveals one. 
  • You’re feeling breast discomfort that isn’t related to your monthly period. 
  • You experience swelling, redness, or irritation on your breasts. 
  • You note that the outline or surface of the bosom has changed.
  • You note a difference in the skin’s appearance or texture on your breast. 
  • You experience a release of liquid from your areola.

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Why Is Breast Cancer Surgery Conducted?

Most women with breast cancer are subjected to some sort of surgical operation as part of a treatment plan. There are different types of breast cancer medical treatments, and they can be performed for a variety of purposes, depending on the situation. For example, breast cancer surgery may be performed:

  • To extract as much of the malignant tumor as possible (mastectomy) 
  • To check if the cancerous development has progressed to the lymph nodes under the arm (sentinel lymph hub biopsy or axillary lymph hub analysis) 
  • To reshape the breast after the illness has been eradicated (breast reconstruction surgery) 
  • To alleviate the effects of the final stages of breast cancer

Your doctor may recommend any of these procedures based on the symptoms of your breast cancer and your medical records, or you may be able to choose which type of surgery to undergo. It’s essential to understand the options you have so you can discuss them with your oncologist and make the decision that’s best suited to your health status.

What Are the Different Types of Breast Cancer Surgery?

The different types of breast cancer surgery that can be performed are:

Mastectomy 

For many women, surgical treatment may be required to have their entire breast removed (mastectomy). The surgeon removes the tissues that protect the chest muscles and the breast tissue (including the skin and areola). 

Occasionally, the doctor will also remove the muscles of the chest wall. This is referred to as a radical mastectomy. 

Following a mastectomy, you may want to have breast reconstruction surgery. Some women also prefer to wear a prosthetic breast. 

After a mastectomy, you will be eligible for radiotherapy if you meet the following criteria:

  • If there are destructive lymph nodes in the armpits
  • The results of the surgery aren’t at par with the doctor’s expectations
  • The development of the tumor is extraordinarily aggressive

Breast reconstruction surgery

You may undergo breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. This means the expert will create a new breast form for you. Before your operation, the expert will speak to you about the different choices for breast reconstruction surgery.

You can get a breast reconstruction done simultaneously with a mastectomy to recreate new breasts (immediate reconstruction), or you can do it later (delayed reconstruction).

Following a mastectomy, you may decide that you do not want to wear a prosthesis or have breast reconstruction surgery.   

Women opt for this for several reasons. These include: 

  • They do not wish to undergo any more surgical treatments
  • Desire to return to a normal life as soon as possible
  • They do not want to wear prosthetics, or they find them unpleasant

Discuss all your options with your health expert. They will describe the positives and pitfalls to assist you in making the right decision for you. You may need more time to make your decision. Talking to loved ones about how you feel can be beneficial.

Removing the lymph nodes

  • The cancer cells have likely migrated to the lymph nodes around the breast. Lymph nodes can be found in a variety of body parts. 

Doctors sift through the lymphatic tissue for bacteria and damaged cells to combat harmful cells. An ultrasound scan is performed before the surgical operation to check the lymph nodes in the armpit. 

Specialists like to know if there is any malignant development in the armpit’s lymph nodes, and it helps them plan the surgical treatment. A sentinel lymph node biopsy or an axillary lymph node analysis may be required. 

  • Your primary doctor can prescribe a variety of medications. There may be an option of mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery and then undergoing radiotherapy.
  • For breast cancer surgery, you may be put under general anesthesia. Many women nowadays have breast surgical treatment and are discharged from the hospital the next day. If you have breast reconstruction surgery simultaneously, you will be in the hospital for four to seven days.

What Are the Benefits of Undergoing Breast Cancer Surgery?

Many women with early-stage malignant growths choose between lumpectomy and mastectomy. The main advantage of lumpectomy is that a woman retains most of her breasts. Regardless, she would be subject to radiation. Women who undergo a mastectomy for early-stage cancer are less likely to need radiation.

What Are the Risks of Undergoing Breast Cancer Surgery?

While breast cancer surgery is a relatively safe and common surgery, it does carry certain risks, such as:

  • Infectious disease 
  • Blood loss
  • Fluid collection at the site of surgery (seroma) 
  • Permanent scarring
  • Impaired or altered sensitivity in the operated chest and breast area. 
  • Problems of wound healing 
  • Enlarging of the arm (lymphedema)
  • Disarray, muscle throbs, and a feeling of nausea are all dangers associated with anesthesia during a surgical operation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When would it be advisable for me to start testing for breast cancer?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) advises the following early-detection screenings for women at risk of breast cancer:

  • Mammograms are optional, beginning at the age of 40. 
  • Mammograms are prescribed every year for women aged 45 to 54.
  • Mammograms can be scheduled every two years for women aged 55 and over unless they opt for annual scans.

How soon must I make a decision about breast cancer surgery? 

Treatment for breast cancer should often begin soon after diagnosis, although it is not uncommon to wait up to a month before starting treatment.

What’s more crucial than beginning therapy right away is knowing and weighing all of your treatment options with your doctors and family and then determining what’s best for you.

How long do you think I’ll be in the clinic? 

Patients usually leave the emergency clinic the same day as the surgical treatment if a lumpectomy is done. Patients who have undergone a mastectomy are expected to spend more time in the emergency room but are usually discharged the next day.

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