The Different Types of Surgeries for Breast Cancer

Most of the times, women have to undergo surgery as a part of their treatment. There are different kinds of surgeries for breast cancer, and the process is done for different reasons, depending on person to person.

If your doctor has suggested you surgery for breast cancer or you want more details about it, then read this post to know everything about various surgeries involved to treat breast cancer.

Why a Breast Cancer Surgery is done?

A breast cancer surgery is done for various reasons, such as:

  • Removing cancer to as great extent as possible
  • To identify whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arms
  • To relieve signs of advanced breast cancer
  • To restore the shape of the breast after the cancer is removed

Based on your specific reason, your medical history, and cancer features, your doctor would suggest you a certain kind of surgery. It is essential to know about all the available options so that you can talk about them with your doctor and make an appropriate choice.

Breast Cancer Surgery for Cancer of Different Stages

Breast cancer surgery is used to cure cancer of most stages, including:

People at high risk of breast cancer – Individuals with a high risk of breast cancer based on family history or the ailment may have to undergo breast cancer surgery. It is because certain gene mutation or noncancerous breast biopsy may prevent the ailment from extending further to other body parts,

Non-invasive Breast Cancer – Women diagnosed with DCIS or Ductal Carcinoma in Situ may undergo lumpectomy that is followed further with radiation therapy. In some cases, mastectomy without or with breast reconstruction may also be performed.

Breast Cancer of Early Stage – It is possible to cure small breast cancers with mastectomy or lumpectomy with or without breast reconstruction surgery followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy.

Large Breast Cancer – The breast cancer tumor of bigger size is cured with mastectomy, which is followed after hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy.

Recurrent Breast Cancer – There are some cases where breast cancer may recur after the initial treatment process. In this case, additional surgery is performed along with other additional treatments.

Surgeries to Remove Breast Cancer

There are two main kinds of surgeries involved to remove breast cancer:

  • Mastectomy – It is a surgical process where the entire breast is removed, including the breast tissues as well as other tissues nearby. There are numerous distinct kinds of mastectomies. Some of the women may also get done a double mastectomy where both the breasts are removed.
  • Breast-Conserving Surgery – This form of surgery is also known as quadrantectomy, lumpectomy, segmental mastectomy, or partial mastectomy. In this surgery, only one part of the breast that contains cancer is removed. The aim is to get rid of cancer as well as some surrounding normal tissues. The part of the breast to be removed depends on the location and size of the tumor as well as more other factors.

Which Surgery You Must Choose – Mastectomy or Breast-Conserving Surgery?

One critical question posed by most the women suffering from early-stage cancer is to decide between Mastectomy and Breast-Conserving Surgery or BCS.  The main benefit of BCS is that it allows a woman to keep most of her breast. But in this case, she will also require radiation. Women who get a mastectomy to cure early-stage cancer are less likely to receive radiation.

In some cases, mastectomy is a better option where the breast cancer tumor is large in size.

If you are under worry that having a less extensive surgery would raise your risk of experiencing cancer again, then this is not the case. In most of the cases, mastectomy does not give any chance of long-term survival or better results from the treatment. As per the studies, it is possible to perform BCS along with radiation therapy when mastectomy is not able to deliver better chances of survival.

Surgeries Performed to Remove Nearby Lymph Nodes

To identify whether the breast cancer has spread to underarm or axillary lymph nodes, one or more of the lymph nodes is removed and examined under the microscope. It is an essential part of determining the extent of cancer. Lymph nodes are removed either as part of the surgery to remove a breast cancer or as a separate surgery.

The two main kinds of surgeries performed to remove lymph nodes are:

ALND or Axillary Lymph Node Dissection – In this process, the surgeon removes numerous lymph nodes from under the arm.

SLNB or Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy – In this process the surgeon removes just the lymph node under the arm to which the cancer is expected to spread on an initial basis. Removing one or more such lymph nodes reduces the risk of side effects from surgery.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Women who undergo surgery for breast cancer are offered the option to have breast reconstruction.

If the women have undergone through a mastectomy, then she might want the breast wound to rebuild to restore the appearance of the breast after surgery. In some cases of breast-conserving surgeries, a woman might consider getting fat grafting in the affected breast to rectify dimples left from the surgery. Such an option depends on the specific situation of a woman.

If you want to have reconstructive surgery, it is better that you discuss the same with your breast surgeon. This gives the surgery team enough time to plan out the treatment that might work best for you.

Surgery to Cure Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer

Though surgery will not likely cure breast cancer, which has spread to other body parts, it can still be helpful in some situations. It can be helpful to relieve symptoms or reduce the pace of the spread of cancer.

The surgery for advanced stage breast cancer is performed when:

  • The breast tumor results in an open wound in the chest or breast
  • An area of the cancer spread applies pressure on the spinal cord
  • To cure blockage in the liver
  • To cure multiple small areas affected by cancer known as metastases, in a specific body part like brain
  • To offer relief from cancer symptoms and pain

There are different kinds of surgeries performed to combat breast cancer. Explore our clinic to find out about new treatment options, interventions and tests performed to prevent, diagnose, cure, and manage breast cancer.

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