BREAST CANCER TREATMENT
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Surgical treatment is the most important intervention to control breast cancer in a way that does not pose a threat to the patient’s life. Today, there are different surgical applications for this purpose. In addition, restorative surgeries are also performed to restore the aesthetic appearance of the breast after partial or complete removal of the cancerous area.
Surgery for the Breast
- Breast Conservation Surgery
- Risk Reducing Surgery
- Breast Reconstruction (Repair)
Surgery for the Armpit
- Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (SLNB) and Removal of Axillary Lymph Nodes
Both breast conserving surgery and mastectomy are performed under general anesthesia. These operations, including the removal of underarm lymph nodes, take 1-2 hours. In cases of simultaneous reconstruction, this period is slightly longer.
The skin incision is important in breast-conserving surgery; an incision with a good cosmetic result is preferred. Two separate skin incisions are often made to remove the tumor and the axillary lymph nodes.
In mastectomy, an elliptical incision is made to include the nipple and the surrounding dark area (areola) and all breast tissue is removed.
Skin-sparing mastectomy can be performed in patients who will undergo breast reconstruction with mastectomy. In this procedure, most of the skin covering the breast is preserved.
After the operation, drains are placed in the armpit and the surgical area to prevent fluid collection (seroma) in this area. Usually it takes 5-7 days for these drains to be removed.
In which cases is surgery used?
Surgical treatments are the first choice for breast cancers caught early. In the surgical method, the breast tumor is removed from the breast tissue with clean tissue around it or the whole breast is removed. In addition, some lymph nodes are removed to see if the tumor has spread to the armpit. Surgical interventions first determine the stage of the disease. Depending on the stage of the disease, it is determined which additional treatments (radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy) are necessary.
Improvements in surgical treatment and advances in additional therapies now provide excellent results in many patients.
Should the entire breast be removed?
Until recently, it was mostly preferred to remove the entire breast. In surgery, it was accepted that there was no other option but to remove the breast and completely clean the axillary lymph nodes. In modern acceptance, this procedure has been applied to a much smaller number of patients if diagnosed at an early stage.
In one in two patients, it is now possible to remove the tumor and then preserve the breast with radiotherapy. It is clinically accepted that there is no significant difference between breast-conserving treatment and complete removal of the breast in appropriate patients.