Most women with breast cancer will have some type of surgery to treat the main breast tumor. The purpose of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Surgery can also be done to find out whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm (axillary dissection); to restore the breast's appearance (reconstructive surgery); or to relieve symptoms of advanced cancer. Some of the most common types of breast cancer surgery performed at Saint Francis Hospital include:
- Lumpectomy: Also called breast conservation therapy, lumpectomy involves removing only the breast lump and some surrounding normal tissue. Partial (segmental) mastectomy: This surgery involves removing more of the breast tissue than in a lumpectomy.
- Simple or total mastectomy: In this surgery, the entire breast is removed but not the lymph nodes under the arm or muscle tissue from beneath the breast.
- Modified radical mastectomy: This operation involves removing the entire breast and some of the lymph nodes under the arm.
- Radical mastectomy: This is extensive removal of the entire breast, lymph nodes and the chest wall muscles under the breast. This surgery is rarely done now because modified radical mastectomy has proven to be just as effective with less disfigurement and fewer side effects.
Other breast cancer surgeries include:
- Axillary dissection: This operation is done to find out if the breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes under the arm.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy: This test, in which a radioactive substance and a dye are injected near the tumor, is used to look at the lymph nodes without having to remove all of them first.
- Reconstructive or breast implant surgery: These operations are not meant to treat the cancer, but are done to restore the way the breast looks after mastectomy.
To learn more about breast surgery provided at Saint Francis, please call 918-494-9270.