Surgery for breast cancer
Surgery is one of the modality for breast cancer treatment. Types of breast cancer surgery:
Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a suspected malignant or abnormal tissue with minimal surrounding breast tissue. This is called breast conservation surgery, or partial mastectomy. Lumpectomy treats both invasive cancers of the breast (invasive ductal carcinoma or invasive lobular carcinoma) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Usually, radiotherapy comes after surgery. However, doctors do not advise radiotherapy for non-invasive cancer, pre-cancers, or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Breast removal surgery refers to the complete surgical removal of one (or both) breast(s), and some lymph nodes affected by the cancer’s spread. Radiation therapy generally comes after mastectomy. Post-recovery, patients opt for breast reconstruction surgery to regain the natural appearance of the breasts.
Doctors advise a bilateral mastectomy for women at a high risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast. This generally applies to women with confirmed BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, those with cancer diagnosis in both breasts.
Lymph node evaluation
A sentinel lymph node biopsy (where a surgery removes a few lymph nodes) evaluates lymph nodes. In other cases, it is done in axillary lymph node dissection (where surgery removes a large number of lymph nodes). Moreover, this depends on how much the cancer has spread, or affected the lymph nodes in the underarm area.
Sentinel node biopsy: This procedure involves surgically removing one to five (or more, in some cases) sentinel lymph nodes from the underarm area (axilla). The sentinel lymph node is the first location that cancer cells are likely to spread. If cancer cells are not in the sentinel node, the other lymph nodes are likely to be cancer free as well. Furthermore, axillary lymph node sampling or axillary lymph node dissection, is an alternative which involve removing more lymph nodes.