If you’re contemplating breast cancer surgery, you’re not alone. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 9,000 Georgians will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Of those, approximately 60% percent will elect to undergo cancer surgery.
Frequently, the best option for treating breast cancer is surgical removal of malignant tissue. By removing cancerous tissue from the breast and surrounding lymph nodes, doctors can help control the spread of the disease.
Surgical Treatment Options
There are several types of breast cancer surgeries, and the choice of procedure depends on various factors including the stage of cancer, tumor size, location, and more. The primary surgical options for breast cancer treatment include:
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
This procedure is usually done in conjunction with either a lumpectomy or mastectomy, this procedure removes the sentinel lymph node to determine whether cancer cells are present. The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. Cancer cells may appear in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes.
This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and most patients go home the same day. Learn more about sentinel lymph node biopsy on the American Cancer Society website.
Also called breast conserving surgery, in this procedure your specialized breast cancer surgeon will remove only the lump and a small amount of the surrounding tissue. This is recommended when the breast cancer is fairly localized (in an early stage) and will preserve as much of the healthy breast tissue as possible. Sometimes a patient undergoing a lumpectomy will also need chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to ensure that the cancer is eradicated.
During a mastectomy, one or both of the breasts may be removed entirely to remove the breast cancer and prevent its further spread. Sometimes, the nearby lymph nodes may also be removed, since those lymph nodes often are the first place breast cancer spreads to. Removal of these lymph nodes can result in a condition called lymphedema, which is why NGMC offers specialized cancer rehabilitation options to ensure that the unique needs of breast cancer surgery patients are met.
Following mastectomy, many women choose to undergo surgical reconstruction to restore the appearance of their breast(s). Plastic surgeons coordinate with the breast surgeon for this procedure, often performed at the same time as the mastectomy. Reconstruction may be done either with implants, transfer of the patient’s own tissue, or both.
Find a Breast Cancer Surgeon
Our accredited cancer center provides our patients access to top-tier treatments, while providing compassionate guidance every step of the way. Meet our expert surgical team or call NGMC Cancer Services at 770-219-8815 to learn more about available surgical oncology procedures.