Breast Cancer Surgery
Partial or Segmental Mastectomy
Depending on the size and location of the cancer, this surgery can conserve much of the breast. The surgeon removes the cancer, some of the breast tissue, the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor, and usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm. In most cases, radiation therapy follows.
Patients who are treated with breast-conserving surgery may also have some of the lymph nodes under the arm removed for biopsy. This procedure is called lymph node dissection. It may be done at the same time as the breast-conserving surgery or after. Lymph node dissection is done through a separate incision.
After breast-sparing surgery, most women receive radiation therapy to the breast. This treatment destroys cancer cells that may remain in the breast.
A mastectomy may be recommended when:
- Cancer is found in more than one part of the breast
- The breast is small or shaped so that a lumpectomy would leave little breast tissue or a very deformed breast
- A woman chooses not to have radiation therapy
- A woman prefers a mastectomy.
There are three types of mastectomies:
- Total (or simple) mastectomy
- Modified radical mastectomy
- Radical mastectomy.
Total (or Simple) Mastectomy
In a total mastectomy, the surgeon removes the entire breast. Some lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
In a modified radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the breast, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscles.