Breast Cancer Surgery

 

For most women with breast cancer, surgery is part of the treatment process. There are two main types of surgery to remove breast cancer:

Breast-conserving surgery (also called a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy) :
A surgery in which only the part of the breast containing the cancer is removed. The goal is to remove the cancer as well as some surrounding normal tissue. How much of the breast is removed depends on the size and location of the tumor and other factors.

Mastectomy :
A surgery in which the entire breast is removed, including all of the breast tissue and sometimes other nearby tissues. There are several different types of mastectomies. Some women may also get a double mastectomy, in which both breasts are removed.

Surgery to remove nearby lymph nodes :
Cancer cells might have spread into the lymph nodes close to the breast. The two main types of surgery to remove lymph nodes are :

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) :
    A procedure in which the surgeon removes only the lymph node(s) under the arm to which the cancer would likely spread first. Removing only one or a few lymph nodes lowers the risk of side effects from the surgery.

  • Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) :
    A procedure in which the surgeon removes many (usually less than 20) lymph nodes from under the arm. ALND is not done as often as it was in the past, but it might still be the best way to look at the lymph nodes in some situations.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery : The main types of breast reconstruction are :

  • Implants to replace all or some of the breast tissue

  • Having a breast shape made from one’s own body tissue

  • A combination of an implant and one’s own body tissue