The goal of breast cancer surgery is to remove the entire tumor from the breast. Some of the lymph nodes from the underarm area (axillary nodes) may also be removed to see if cancer cells are present.
There are two basic types of surgery to remove breast cancer:
During a lumpectomy, a surgeon removes the cancer, including some normal breast tissue around the tumor. If cancer cells are found at any of the edges of the cancer that has been removed, it is said to have positive margins and additional surgery may be needed to remove additional tissue.
A mastectomy is the surgical removal of the breast. A mastectomy is most often recommended when:
Breast cancer staging
Staging is a way of describing a cancer. There are five breast cancer stages. Knowing your cancer stage helps your doctors decide what kind of treatment is best for you. Your doctor will use information based upon the stage and type of your cancer to determine the best treatment options for you.
Your cancer stage and treatment will depend on:
Breast Cancer Stages
What are lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes are small structures found throughout the body. They act as filters for germs, and help fight off infection and disease.
Sometimes cancer cells enter these lymph nodes. When breast cancer spreads outside the breast, it frequently spreads to the lymph nodes in the armpit first. These lymph nodes are called axillary lymph nodes. Finding out whether or not the cancer has spread to these nodes is important and helps your doctor develop your treatment plan.
Removal of Lymph Nodes
Sentinel lymph nodes are the first lymph nodes to which cancer is likely to spread. To perform a sentinel biopsy your surgeon will inject a radioactive substance, a blue dye, or both near the tumor to locate the position of the sentinel lymph node. The surgeon then uses a device that detects radioactivity to find the sentinel node or looks for lymph nodes that are stained with the blue dye. Once the sentinel lymph node is located, the surgeon makes a small incision in the overlying skin and removes the node.
If the sentinel nodes show no cancer cells, then it is very likely that the other axillary nodes will also be cancer free and the nodes will require no further treatment.
If the sentinel nodes do show cancer cells, depending on your circumstances, the surgeon may remove more lymph nodes in the armpit. The remaining nodes may be treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy to control any remaining disease.
Total or simple mastectomy removes:
Contact: Wright State Surgical Oncology & Breast Care 2300 Miami Valley Drive, Suite 350 Centerville, Ohio 45459 Office: (937) 424-2469 Fax: (937) 424-2479