Know the Kinds of Breast Cancer Surgery KINDS OF SURGERY.

What should you know about surgery?

When you have breast cancer, you will most likely have surgery to remove the tumor. The choice of which kind of surgery depends on your cancer and the advice of your care team along with your personal preference. If the breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body far from the breast (called metastatic breast cancer), surgery may not be an option for you.

Lumpectomy

This is a surgery to remove the tumor and some nearby tissue. If a lumpectomy is an option for you, it’s a kind of surgery to consider if you want to preserve your breast.

Mastectomy

This is a surgery to remove one or both of your breasts, and may include removing some lymph nodes, some lining over the chest muscle, and/or part of the chest muscle. A mastectomy may be an option if you cannot have a lumpectomy, or if you had a lumpectomy that did not remove all of the cancer.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (SLNB) or Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (ALND)

During a lumpectomy or mastectomy, the surgeon may perform a procedure to remove some of your lymph nodes to test for cancer. The lymph nodes are usually the first place where breast cancer spreads.

Reconstruction

After surgery, one or both of your breasts may have changed in shape and size, or have been completely removed. You can decide to rebuild your breast immediately after surgery or at a later time. Talk to your surgeon about reconstruction options as part of your treatment planning before surgery.

The choice of which kind of surgery depends on your cancer and the advice of your care team along with your personal preference.

Possible benefits of surgery

For certain people with breast cancer, surgery is the standard way to remove the cancerous tumor and any surrounding area that may be affected, like the lymph nodes. If the tumor is successfully removed, it significantly lowers the chance of the cancer spreading or coming back.

Possible risks of surgery

Breast cancer surgery does have a risk of complications and side effects. Talk to your care team about any potential risks associated with your surgery.

Surgery may not take care of all cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body (for example, the lymph nodes). It is possible that the breast cancer will continue to grow. There’s always a chance the cancer could come back, even with pre-surgery treatment, surgery, and post-surgery treatments. Your care team will make a follow-up plan for you if needed.

For certain people with breast cancer, surgery is the standard way to remove the cancerous tumor and any surrounding area that may be affected, like the lymph nodes.
Breast Cancer Surgery may be an Option

Surgery may be an option if you:

  • Have breast cancer — most women who have breast cancer will have surgery as one of their treatment options
  • Have been diagnosed with stage 0, 1, 2, or 3 breast cancer. If you have stage 4 breast cancer, surgery may not be an option.
  • Had pre-surgery treatment to shrink the tumor first in order to make surgery possible

Who should you talk to?

If you’re considering a certain kind of surgery and want to know, “What does this option mean for me and my treatment plan?”, start by talking to the experts on your care team.

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