Breast surgeons on the medical staff employ many techniques to surgically treat breast cancer. When possible, they strive to preserve as much of the breast tissue as possible through lumpectomy (removal of the tumor with a rim of normal tissue). In certain instances, mastectomy (removal of the breast) is required.
A mastectomy is usually recommended if the tumor size is large compared to breast size, if there is more than one area of cancer in the breast, or if the patient cannot undergo radiation therapy. About four weeks after surgery, most patients undergo chemotherapy if the tumor removed is larger than 1 cm or if a lymph node is involved. Chemotherapy is given by a medical oncologist one day every three weeks for four to six months.
If breast conservation therapy (a lumpectomy) is performed, patients undergo radiation therapy, which starts about one month after the last chemotherapy treatment is done. It is given every day for five to six weeks by a radiation oncologist.
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near-normal shape, appearance and size following a mastectomy. It can be a physically and an emotionally rewarding procedure for a woman who has lost a breast due to cancer or other condition.
For many women, the creation of a new breast can dramatically improve self-image, self-confidence and quality of life. Although surgery can give you a relatively natural-looking breast, a reconstructed breast will never look or feel exactly the same as the breast that was removed.
Because breast reconstruction is often an important part of a woman’s total recovery, reconstructive surgeons on the medical staff offer quality care with attentive personal service.