Your doctor determines your breast cancer treatment options based on your type of breast cancer, its stage and grade, size, and whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones. Your doctor also considers your overall health and your own preferences.
Most women undergo surgery for breast cancer and also receive additional treatment before or after surgery, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation. That is why an early diagnosis is so important. In countries that most patients are following the checkups regularly, mastectomies are performed in fewer than 15% of the cases. There are many options for breast cancer treatment, and you may feel overwhelmed as you make complex decisions about your treatment but you and your doctor will have to make a share decision, on how to proceed.
While radical mastectomies are less common today, there are instances in which this surgery is the best option to treat the cancer. There are two types of mastectomies: simple and partial mastectomy. The choice is based on the size of the tumor and its growth. During these surgeries, the chest wall muscles are not removed.
One of the first things that the patients ask, is whether they will need a mastectomy. Truth is that mastectomy can be prevented in 60- 70% of all cases; in countries that people visit their doctor often, mastectomies can be prevented up to 85% of all cases. He indications for a mastectomy, or not, must be discussed thoroughly with your surgeon and have full disclosure of the procedures and the alternatives.
In cases of aggressive cancer, the axillary lymph nodes must be removed. If cancer is found in the sentinel lymph nodes, your surgeon will discuss with you the role of removing additional lymph nodes in your armpit. To determine whether cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, your surgeon will discuss with you the role of removing the lymph nodes that are the first to receive the lymph drainage from your tumor (sentinel Lymph Node). If no cancer is found in those lymph nodes, the chance of finding cancer in any of the remaining lymph nodes is small and no other nodes need to be removed.
Complications of breast cancer surgery depend on the procedures you choose. Breast cancer surgery carries a risk of pain, bleeding, infection and arm swelling (lymphedema). You may choose to have breast reconstruction after surgery. Discuss your options and preferences with your surgeon.
To receive a consultation, request your appointment online and schedule your visit during one of the select times our surgeons have set aside exclusively for Web visitors.