Breast Cancer Surgery – Everything You Need To Know

Cancer that starts in the breast tissue is called breast cancer. The type of breast cancer you have and your general health determine which treatment you need. Surgery or breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, gene therapy, and radiotherapy all belong to the group of available treatments for breast cancer.

What should you know about breast cancer surgery?

The surgical technique for breast cancer is an essential part of treating the condition and involves surgically removing the malignant growth.

Your care will be determined by the origin of the cancer, its size, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body, as well as your general health. A group of doctors and other experts will determine the right surgery and palliative care for you.

Are you eligible to have breast cancer surgery?

Predicting how preoperative drug therapy can help reduce tumor size is a task for the medical oncologist. Chemotherapy may be prescribed before or after surgery, based on the pathology and genetics of the tumor.

You can see a breast surgeon or doctor if you experience the following symptoms:

  • You discover a knot or bundle between your breasts, or a mammogram reveals one.
  • You feel discomfort in your breasts that is not related to your monthly period.
  • You experience swelling, redness, or irritation on your breasts.
  • You notice that the circumference or surface of the bosom has changed.
  • You notice a difference in the appearance or texture of the skin on your breast.
  • You experience a release of fluid from your areola.

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Why is breast cancer surgery performed?

Most women with breast cancer undergo some sort of surgical procedure as part of a treatment plan. There are different types of medical treatments for breast cancer and they can be performed for different purposes depending on the situation. For example, breast cancer surgery can be performed:

  • To remove as much of the malignant tumor as possible (mastectomy)
  • To check if the cancerous growth has progressed to the lymph nodes under the arm (sentinel lymph node biopsy or axillary lymph node analysis)
  • To reshape the breast after the disease has been eradicated (breast reconstruction surgery)
  • To relieve the effects of the last stages of breast cancer

Your doctor may recommend one of these procedures based on your breast cancer symptoms and medical records, or you may be able to choose which type of surgery to have. It is essential to understand the options you have so that you can discuss them with your oncologist and make the decision that is best for your health condition.

What Are the Different Types of Breast Cancer Surgery?

The different types of breast cancer surgery that can be performed are:


For many women, surgical treatment may be required to have their entire breast removed (mastectomy). The surgeon removes the tissues that protect the pectoral muscles and breast tissue (including the skin and areola).

Occasionally, the doctor will also remove the muscles of the chest wall. This is called a radical mastectomy.

After a mastectomy, you may want to have breast reconstruction. Some women also prefer to wear a breast prosthesis.

You are eligible for radiotherapy after a mastectomy if you meet the following criteria:

  • If there are destructive lymph nodes in the armpits
  • The results of the operation are not in line with the doctor’s expectations.
  • The development of the tumor is extremely aggressive.

breast reconstruction surgery

You can have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. This means that the expert will make a new breast prosthesis for you. Prior to your operation, the expert will talk to you about the various options for breast reconstruction.

You can have breast reconstruction done at the same time as a mastectomy to recreate new breasts (immediate reconstruction), or you can do it later (delayed reconstruction).

After a mastectomy, you can decide not to wear a prosthesis or to undergo breast reconstruction.

Women choose this for several reasons. Among which:

  • They no longer want to undergo surgical treatments
  • Desire to return to a normal life as soon as possible
  • They do not want to wear prostheses, or find them uncomfortable

Discuss all your options with your health expert. They will describe the positives and pitfalls to help you make the right decision for you. You may need more time to make your decision. Talking to loved ones about how you feel can be beneficial.

Removing the lymph nodes

  • The cancer cells have probably migrated to the lymph nodes around the breast. Lymph nodes are found in different parts of the body.

Doctors search the lymph tissue for bacteria and damaged cells to fight off harmful cells. Before surgery, an ultrasound is done to check the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Specialists like to know if there is malignant growth in the axillary lymph nodes, and it helps them plan the surgical treatment. A sentinel lymph node biopsy or axillary lymph node analysis may be required.

  • Your doctor can prescribe various medicines. There may be an option of mastectomy or breast conserving surgery and then undergoing radiotherapy.
  • You may be given a general anesthetic for breast cancer surgery. Many women today undergo breast surgery and are discharged from the hospital the next day. If you are having breast reconstruction at the same time, you will stay in the hospital for four to seven days.

What are the benefits of having breast cancer surgery?

Many women with early-stage malignancies choose between lumpectomy and mastectomy. The main benefit of lumpectomy is that a woman retains most of her breasts. Either way, she would be exposed to radiation. Women undergoing mastectomy for early-stage cancer are less likely to receive radiation.

What are the risks of having breast cancer surgery?

Although breast cancer surgery is a relatively safe and common operation, it carries certain risks, such as:

  • Infectious diseases
  • blood loss
  • Fluid collection at the surgical site (seroma)
  • permanent scars
  • Decreased or altered tenderness in the operated breast and chest area.
  • Wound healing problems
  • Enlargement of the arm (lymphedema)
  • Disorder, muscle palpitations, and a feeling of nausea are all dangers associated with anesthesia during a surgical procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When is it advisable for me to start breast cancer testing?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends the following early detection screening for women at risk for breast cancer:

  • Mammograms are optional, starting at age 40.
  • Mammograms are prescribed every year for women ages 45 to 54.
  • Mammograms can be scheduled every two years for women age 55 and older, unless they opt for annual scans.

How soon should I make a decision about breast cancer surgery?

Breast cancer treatment often needs to be started soon after diagnosis, although it is not uncommon to wait up to a month before starting treatment.

What’s more important than starting therapy right away is knowing and weighing all your treatment options with your doctors and family, and then determining what’s best for you.

How long do you think I will be in the clinic?

Patients usually leave the emergency clinic on the same day as surgical treatment if a lumpectomy is performed. Patients who have undergone a mastectomy are expected to spend more time in the emergency room, but are usually discharged the next day.

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