Women are encouraged to conduct regular breast cancer screenings. Surgery may be required for women with pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. The most suitable treatment depends on the stage of breast cancer, personal preference, existing health and type of breast cancer. However, there are different surgical procedures as listed below:
1. Mastectomy (complete removal of the breast)
2. Lumpectomy (removal of a cancerous mass and tissue surrounding the mass)
3. Partial mastectomy (removal of a cancerous mass and part of the breast)
4. Double mastectomy (removal of the two breasts)
Physicians perform surgery to protect healthy cells from becoming cancerous. Cancer spreads through cells, so removing all the infected cells eliminates the chances of recurrence of the disease. After the surgery, you can choose to have breast reconstruction immediately or later. Surgeons use either your living tissue or breast implants to replace the tissue removed during the surgery.
Expectations After Surgery
If you undergo a lumpectomy, you are usually allowed to go home the same day. However, if you have a mastectomy or breast reconstruction after the surgery, you will have to spend the night at the hospital.
Whether you go home or not, the physician will monitor your blood pressure and vitals. They will also guide you on how to care for the wound. To help with pain, you will be prescribed pain medication.
Sometimes patients will have additional treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy in additional to the surgery based on the type and stage of the cancer.
You should ask your breast surgeon any questions you may have concerning your treatment or recovery. Some questions:
• Why is the chosen treatment best for you?
• What is the expected recovery time?
• Will breast reconstruction be necessary and which option is the best for me?