Surgery may be a suitable option if you suffer from breast cancer. The surgery you undergo will depend on various factors, such as:
- location of the cancer in your breast
- the stage and grade of your cancer
- your general health
Breast conserving surgery
Breast conserving surgery aims to remove the cancer with a rim of normal breast tissue around it and to leave most of the breast intact. This is also called a wide local excision, or sometimes a lumpectomy. This can be done if the lump is small relative to the size of the breast.
If the lump is relatively large compared to the size of the breast, then a mastectomy surgery may be necessary to remove the whole breast to make sure the cancer is completely removed. For some people, it is possible to shrink a large cancer before surgery so that breast conserving surgery becomes possible. However if a mastectomy is needed, an immediate reconstruction may also be possible to rebuild the breast at the same time.
There are different ways of performing a breast reconstruction. Sometimes an implant can be used, in other cases muscle can be taken from the back (a latissimus dorsi flap), a tissue can be taken from the tummy or from other areas, to form a new breast.