The first option for women in need of breast cancer surgical procedures is to have a lumpectomy. A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a tumor and a small normal amount of tissue around it. This is considered having breast preservation surgery.
The advantage of a lumpectomy is that it saves the appearance of the breast. To a lot of women, this is a very important detail. It is almost a must for individuals who are concerned with their sexuality or physical appearance. Women who don’t want to have a large amount of their tissue removed can undergo this breast cancer surgical procedure, which can also help in the prevention of depression or fatigue.
The lumpecomy is the most commonly used form of breast cancer surgery.
The disadvantage of having a lumpectomy is the chance that radiation therapy will be necessary. Most women receive five to seven weeks of radiation therapy after breast cancer surgery procedure. The combination of both the lumpectomy and the radiation therapy is known as breast conservation therapy.
Another disadvantage of having the lumpectomy is the chance that the cancer could spread. The only way to avoid this chance is to remove the entire breast. A great deal of research has been done to determine whether or not a lumpectomy is the best choice.
Research suggests that this procedure is indeed highly effective for women with a tumor under four centimeters, removed with no cancer cells found in the tissue around it. It is also necessary for the procedure to be followed by radiation for it to be successful.
Another option, which was once the only option for women with breast cancer is the mastectomy. The mastectomy involves the removal of the whole breast. This is to prevent the cancer from forming again. Today, it is not necessary to have this breast cancer surgical procedure.
However, for some women it is the best option. For example, women with ductal carcinoma in situ are more qualified for this form of breast cancer surgery.
There are three different forms of the mastectomy. The first form is known as a “total” mastectomy. In this procedure the entire breast is removed but not the axillary lymph nodes. Also, no muscle is removed from underneath the breast.
The second form of the mastectomy, which is commonly used today is referred to as a modified radical mastectomy. In this breast cancer surgical procedure the surgeon removes the entire breast along with a section of the axillary lymph nodes. The removal of these lymph nodes is known as axillary dissection.
The final form of the mastectomy is the radical mastectomy. This procedure is rarely used because modified radical mastectomy has proven to be less disfiguring and just as effective. In this procedure, the entire breast is removed along with all lymph nodes and chest wall muscles under the breast.
Radiation therapy may be needed after a mastectomy only if the tumor is larger than five centimeters, the tumor has occurred in more locations, or four or more lymph nodes were involved.
These breast cancer surgical procedures are very effective and have saved thousands of lives. It is vital that women diagnosed with breast cancer consult with their doctor to find out which of these operations would work best for them.