Common Specialities
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Common Treatments
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Overview

Surgery is a common procedure when it comes to treating breast cancer, as the main objective is to remove the cancer cells as much as possible. There are different types of surgery for breast cancer, depending on your medical history and the type and stage of cancer that you are suffering from. The two main types of surgeries are:

  • Lumpectomy, which is also known as partial or segmental mastectomy. This surgery involves removing only that part of the breast where cancer has been detected, along with some normal tissues surrounding it. The portion of breast that is removed depends on factors such as the size and location of the cancerous tumor.
  • Mastectomy, which involves the removal of the entire breast, including all breast tissues and at times even the nearby tissues. In some cases, patients may also undergo double mastectomy, where both the breasts are removed.

Indication

A breast cancer patient may require a surgery in the following conditions:

  • If one is in a locally advanced stage of breast cancer
  • Suffering from Paget’s disease (cancer cells form in/around the nipple)
  • Multiple tumors in different areas of the breast
  • Recurring of the cancer in the breast even after radiation
  • A connective tissue disease such as lupus or scleroderma, where the side effects of radiation cannot be tolerated by the skin
  • The patient is pregnant and radiation may affect the unborn baby

Pre Procedure

The following preparations need to be taken before undergoing a surgery for breast cancer:

  • Have a detailed discussion with your surgeon as well as your anaesthetist regarding the complete procedure of the surgery. You can ask questions to your doctor and clear your doubts, if you have any.
  • If you wish to have a breast reconstruction at the same time, you will also have to meet and discuss the same with your plastic surgeon before the surgery
  • Inform your doctor regarding the medicines, supplements and the vitamins that you are taking
  • Discontinue taking medicines that may increase the risk of bleeding in the course of the surgery, like blood thinners and aspirin
  • You have to stop eating or drinking anything 8-12 hours prior to the surgery. Your doctor will instruct you in this matter.

During Procedure

The surgery is normally performed by administering general anaesthesia. An incision is made around the affected breast. The tumor and the surrounding tissues are then removed. There are different procedures by which the surgery can be performed:

  • Axillary node dissection where several lymph nodes are removed from the armpit on the side where the tumor was located
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy where only one or two lymph nodes are removed and then tested if they have cancerous cells in them
  • Total mastectomy which involves removing of the entire breast
  • Skin-sparing mastectomy where all the breast tissue, nipple and areola are removed but not the breast skin
  • Subcutaneous mastectomy, which is removal of the breast tissue only, and not the skin, nipple and areola

Once the surgery is completed, the incision is stitched back that gets dissolved or has to be removed later. There may be plastic tubes placed in the surgical area for draining any fluid that may accumulate post surgery. The tubes will be sewn in place, with the other ends being attached to a small-sized drainage bag.

Post Procedure

After the completion of the surgery, you will be shifted to the bed and your pulse, breathing and blood pressure will be monitored by your doctors. There will be a dressing over your surgery site. You may feel numb, pain or a pinching sensation in your underarm area. You will be prescribed pain medications for it.

Before you are discharged from the hospital, you will be provided proper instructions regarding care at home, how to take care of your incision and drainage, recognising and informing your doctor if you see any sign of infection. There may also be some restrictions in your daily activities initially. You can also consult your doctors to have a clear knowledge when you can resume wearing a bra or breast prosthesis.

Risk & Complication

A breast cancer surgery can have the following risk or complications:

  • Bleeding from the incision site
  • Infection in the area of surgery
  • Temporary swelling
  • Pain and stiffness of the shoulder
  • Hard scar tissue formation at the surgical site
  • Hematoma, where there is a build-up of blood in the site of the surgery
  • A feeling of numbness, especially under the arm, if the lymph nodes have been removed
  • Change in the appearance and shape of the breast, especially if a large portion has been removed.

More Info

You will have to go for follow-up appointments so that the doctors can monitor your progress of recovery after the surgery. You may have to go for radiation therapy if the tumor was a large one, there were several lymph nodes that were cancerous, if the cancer had spread in the nipple or skin, or there are any cancer cells remaining even after the surgery. In case your cancer is found to be sensitive to chemotherapy, you can discuss other modes of treatment like hormone therapy with your oncologist. Apart from that, involving yourself with a counsellor or support group can help you recover fast emotionally. A healthy lifestyle with good food habits, along with cutting off tobacco and alcohol, will ensure a faster recovery and a healthy life ahead.

The cost of a breast cancer surgery may be approximately Rs. 3, 23,350 – Rs. 4,52,700.

Popular Health Tips

Poor Breast Health - 6 Causes Behind It

Dr. Akhila Sangeetha Bhat 82% (84 ratings)
MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Chennai
Poor Breast Health - 6 Causes Behind It
6 common mistakes most women make that endanger their breast health Good breast health is very necessary for a woman to avoid the risks of getting breast diseases, most particularly breast cancer. But there are some common mistakes most women make without knowing that they contribute to the threats of breast diseases. Read on to know which common habits may be bad for your breast health and what lifestyle alterations you can make to avoid them. 1. Not taking requisite care of your breasts with increasing age The chances of developing diseases like breast cancer increase with age, especially as you enter the 40s and 50s. Most women don't consider their chronological age with requisite seriousness and this can expose them to higher risks of breast diseases. As you hit 40, you should sincerely make it a habit to get regular clinical exams to maintain proper breast health. 2. Not considering an annual mammogram An x-ray of the breasts is known as a mammogram which is usually performed to detect premature symptoms of breast cancer. Studies reveal that a large number of women do not consider getting an annual mammogram done even after the age of 40. Experts are of the opinion that this can be threatening to your breast health as a delay of even a few months can result in developed and undetected breast cancer symptoms. So, it is recommended that after entering your 40s get a mammogram done after every year. 3. Not keeping track of your weight According to researchers, women who have bmi (body mass index) more than 25 are considered obese and have greater chances of developing breast diseases in comparison to women having a balanced weight. The risk rises due to increase in the formation of oestrogen caused by the greater number of fat cells. Increased level of oestrogen is responsible for the growth of 'hormone-receptor-positive' type of breast cancer. You should try to eat healthy and regularly monitor your weight to avoid obesity. 4. Avoiding exercise Avoiding exercise can have adverse effects on your breast health. Studies prove that women who exercise for about 4 to 7 hours every week have lower chances of developing breast diseases. This is due to the fact that regular workout ensures limited blood levels of the hormone 'insulin growth factor' which significantly influences the growth and behaviour of breast cells. So, start exercising from today to stay fit and maintain proper breast health. 5. Drinking too much alcohol Regular consumption of alcohol increases risks of breast cancer as it causes damage to the DNA in cells. Moreover, it raises levels of oestrogen and other hormones responsible for triggering 'hormone-receptor-positive' breast cancer. You can avoid this risk by keeping your alcohol consumption to moderate levels and reserved for special occasions. 6. Exposing yourself to too many chemicals in the form of cosmetics Most women use too many cosmetic products containing certain chemicals that increase their chances of developing breast diseases. This happens because often these chemicals tend to disturb the hormonal balance of the body by mimicking or blocking certain hormones. If you would like to consult with me privately, please click on 'consult'. Related Tip: 10 Ways To Handle Breast Pain - Must Know For All Women
1 person found this helpful

Is Surgery The Best Option For Treating Breast Cancer?

Dr. M K Gupta 90% (105 ratings)
MBBS, MS- General Surgery
General Surgeon,
Is Surgery The Best Option For Treating Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. It is also deemed to be one of the major reason of death among women, though lung cancer is the leading cause of this. The chances that a woman may die of breast cancer is about 2.7% of the women who are suffering. Breast cancer is known to affect men as well, in certain cases. Breast cancer may be genetic but, in certain cases, it is caused due to excess intake of alcohol. Surgery is an option, but treatments also include therapies like radiation and chemo. Treatment for breast cancer Breast cancer can be treated in several ways; however, the treatment depends upon many factors. These factors include the type of breast cancer, its stage, sensitivity of a person to the hormones, age of the patient, health of the patient and most importantly, preferences of the patient. The most common treatment options for breast cancer are radiation therapy, biological therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and surgery. Chemotherapy Cytotoxic drugs are important medications that are used to eliminate cancer cells. This medication is used if the chances of the cancer cells spreading are high. This process is known as the adjuvant chemotherapy. Many a time, the tumor increases in size and surgery becomes essential. This is when the chemotherapy is administered to reduce the tumor size and make it easier for the surgeons to remove the tumor. This process is referred to as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can treat metastasized cancer or cancer that has affected other body parts, thereby reducing the symptoms, mostly in the advanced stages. Radiation Therapy Radiation is targeted towards the tumor in controlled doses so that the cancer cells are destroyed. Radiation therapy is mostly advised to the patients after they go through surgery, to eliminate the cancer cells that may still be there. Hormone blocking therapy Most people go through breast cancer that is hormone sensitive. The hormone blocking therapy helps in preventing the recurrence in this type of breast cancer. The hormone blocking therapy is also used to reduce the size of the tumor, but this method is also suggested after a person goes through surgery. Biological treatment There are some drugs that fall under this category that is used for destroying the various types of the breast cancer. Surgery If at all the patient requires surgery, it depends on his or her diagnosis reports and his or her will to undergo surgery. The types of surgery include Lumpectomy, Sentinel node biopsy, Mastectomy, Axillary lymph node dissection, and Reconstruction. Reconstruction is the method which the doctors make use of to make both the breasts look similar after the surgery is complete. There are several treatment options available to treat breast cancer, and it depends on the choice of the patient to opt for surgery. Surgery helps in eliminating the risk of the spreading of the cancer cells, and it is one of the most effective treatments for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer - Tips To Prevent It!

Dr. Bindu Srivastava 90% (103 ratings)
MS, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Noida
Breast Cancer - Tips To Prevent It!
One of the things that Shannen Doherty and Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks, have in common, apart from their fame is that both were affected by breast cancer. No matter how normal a person may seem, breast cancer can strike anyone. In fact, it usually strikes one in eight women. So, it makes good sense to know what it can appear as! Breast cancer makes up a rather big amount of the general cancer cases as 15% of the cancer cases which are reported on a yearly basis are usually breast cancer cases. That being said, there are quite a few things which can be done in order to reduce a person s risk to breast cancer. Prevention is Prudent- Get Fit: The first thing which should be done is that a reasonable level of fitness should be maintained. Many studies have found that if a person is significantly heavier than her recommended weight, she is at a far great risk to develop all sorts of cancer and breast cancer, in particular, than a person who is able to keep her weight in check. The difference in cancer risk rates is about 40%. This is because a greater amount of fat leads to more estrogen being produced, which increases the risk of breast cancer. Quit Smoking: While most people associate smoking as something which increases the risk of cancer to the lungs and are not aware that it increases the risk of breast cancer, too. So, the best solution is to kick the habit! Get Off the Pill: Once a woman crosses past her mid-thirties, she should try to avoid relying on birth control pills to reduce the risk of pregnancy. This is because these pills have an effect which increases the risk of breast cancer, which heightens as a woman gets older. As long as the woman cuts out the use of the pill, the risk quickly gets cut, as well. Get Regular Check Ups: While screening for breast cancer by making use of mammograms does not cut the risk of it, the screening helps detect breast cancer early if it does exist. As a result, a woman has a much better chance of fighting breast cancer. So, a woman who is past the age of forty should try to have a mammogram on an annual basis with the frequency of the same increasing as she gets older. However, it is to be kept in mind that going for a mammogram too often is also not a good idea as the tests themselves pose risks of DNA changes. Women all around the world are susceptible to breast cancer. While there isn t a 100% chance of avoiding it, taking care of yourself and leading a fit and active lifestyle can significantly cut down your risk of contracting this condition. Remember, your health is in your hands, so the earlier you start, the better!
1 person found this helpful

4 Ways To Prevent Breast Cancer!

Dr. Prabhjot Manchanda 93% (790 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
4 Ways To Prevent Breast Cancer!
One of the things that Shannen Doherty and Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks, have in common, apart from their fame is that both were affected by breast cancer. No matter how normal a person may seem, breast cancer can strike anyone. In fact, it usually strikes one in eight women. So, it makes good sense to know what it can appear as! Breast cancer makes up a rather big amount of the general cancer cases as 15% of the cancer cases which are reported on a yearly basis are usually breast cancer cases. That being said, there are quite a few things which can be done in order to reduce a person s risk to breast cancer. Effective ways to prevent breast cancer- As with any other types of cancer, breast cancer is a condition characterized by uncontrolled and rapid cell proliferation and division in the breast, resulting in the formation of a malignant tumor. While breast cancer is known to be one of the most common types of cancer affecting women, men are also susceptible to the condition. An early diagnosis of the condition gives a mercurial boost to the treatment for breast cancer, often ensuring a full recovery. Unfortunately, in most cases, breast cancer gets diagnosed at a later stage. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with breast cancer include: A change in the breast shape, size, or even the contour. The appearance of a lump in the breast, often pea sized. There may be a fluid discharge (can be clear or blood-stained) from the nipples. In addition to this, the skin around the nipples or the breast may undergo some change. It may appear red, inflamed, scaly or even puckered and dimpled. In addition to the medications and treatment, a person with breast cancer can benefit by practicing the following tips diligently: Self-awareness: Nobody can know your body better than yourself. The associated complications of breast cancer can be averted if only people stop overlooking the early signs and symptoms. There are many government sponsored campaigns and programs to create awareness about breast cancer. Once a while, self-examine your breasts. Feel your breasts for any lumps or thickenings. If you notice any abnormalities, waste no time and consult a doctor at the earliest. BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes: The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are important with regards to the breast cancer. These genes are responsible for the production of tumor suppressor proteins, which play a pivotal role in the repair of DNA damage (often resulting from mutations or diseases). A mutation (often genetically triggered or hereditary trait) in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can wreak havoc, elevating the instances of breast cancer and many other types of cancer (ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and pancreatic cancer, to name a few). Thus, people who have a family history of breast cancer triggered by a mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes should get themselves tested as a precautionary measure. Obesity is a big No: Maintaining a healthy body weight is the need of the hour. Various research has found a link between obesity and increased risk of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II, women who put on extra weight (60 pounds or more) after the age of 18, are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer post-menopause as compared to their healthy counterparts. Thus, it is important to keep the body weight within healthy limits. Take care of your diet. Indulge in physical activities and exercise. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: People, particularly women who consume alcohol in excess (2-6 drinks daily) are at an increased risk of breast cancer. Limit your daily dose of alcohol (1 drink or less per day). Prevention is Prudent- Get Fit: The first thing which should be done is that a reasonable level of fitness should be maintained. Many studies have found that if a person is significantly heavier than her recommended weight, she is at a far great risk to develop all sorts of cancer and breast cancer, in particular, than a person who is able to keep her weight in check. The difference in cancer risk rates is about 40%. This is because a greater amount of fat leads to more estrogen being produced, which increases the risk of breast cancer. Quit Smoking: While most people associate smoking as something which increases the risk of cancer to the lungs and are not aware that it increases the risk of breast cancer, too. So, the best solution is to kick the habit! Get Off the Pill: Once a woman crosses past her mid-thirties, she should try to avoid relying on birth control pills to reduce the risk of pregnancy. This is because these pills have an effect which increases the risk of breast cancer, which heightens as a woman gets older. As long as the woman cuts out the use of the pill, the risk quickly gets cut, as well. Get Regular Check Ups: While screening for breast cancer by making use of mammograms does not cut the risk of it, the screening helps detect breast cancer early if it does exist. As a result, a woman has a much better chance of fighting breast cancer. So, a woman who is past the age of forty should try to have a mammogram on an annual basis with the frequency of the same increasing as she gets older. However, it is to be kept in mind that going for a mammogram too often is also not a good idea as the tests themselves pose risks of DNA changes. Women all around the world are susceptible to breast cancer. While there isn t a 100% chance of avoiding it, taking care of yourself and leading a fit and active lifestyle can significantly cut down your risk of contracting this condition. Remember, your health is in your hands, so the earlier you start, the better! If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
2 people found this helpful

5 Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Dr. Kaberi Banerjee 89% (234 ratings)
MRCOG, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), MBBS
IVF Specialist, Delhi
5 Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk
While you cannot cure breast diseases, family history and maturing, but there are some hazards or risks that you can control. Keeping in mind the fact that there is no certain approach to forestall breast cancer, there are things you can do that may bring down the hazard. Here are five approaches to ensure your breast's well-being: Watch your weight: Being overweight or hefty expands breast cancer chances. This is particularly true after menopause and for women who have put on weight as grown-ups. After menopause, the vast majority of your estrogen originates from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue can heighten your chances of getting breast cancer by raising the estrogen levels. Additionally, women who are overweight have a tendency to have more elevated amounts of insulin, than other hormones. Higher insulin levels have been associated with a few tumors, including breast cancer. Exercise routinely: Many reviews have found that exercise is the sign of having a healthy breast. Studies show that one to two hours of energetic walking each week, lessened a woman s cancer risk by eighteen percent. Walking ten hours seven days decreased the hazard all the more. Constrain liquor: Women who have two to five mixed beverages every day have a higher danger of breast cancer than women who have just one drink a day or none . As much as three to six glasses of wine seven days have been found to somewhat increase breast cancer chances. It is not clear how or why liquor raises the hazard. In any case, constraining liquor is particularly essential for women who have other hazard variables for breast cancer, like, breast cancer running in their families. Restrain time spent sitting: Research has shown that sitting time, regardless of how much exercise you get when you are not sitting, increases the probability of growing cancer, particularly for women. Women who sit six hours or more a day outside of work have a ten percent more serious risk for breast cancer compared to the ladies who sit under three hours a day, and an increased hazard for other cancer types as well. Stay away from or confine hormone substitution treatment: Hormone Replacement Treatment (HRT) was utilized frequently in the past to control night sweats, hot flashes, and other troublesome manifestations of menopause. In any case, specialists now realize that postmenopausal ladies who take a blend of estrogen and progestin might probably create breast tumors or cancer. Breast cancer disease seems to come back within five years in the wake of ceasing the blend of hormones. Therefore, get a breast cancer test even if you feel a small lump.

Popular Questions & Answers

My mother is on ventilator now she has stage 4 breast cancer and she is unable to breathe she is uncouysus now please give me suggestion.

Dr. Bhagyesh Patel 93% (2479 ratings)
FMAS, MS
General Surgeon, Gandhinagar
Respected lybrate-user, hi Warm welcome to Lybrate.com Sorry to her about your mother.* Ventilator will support the life system till unlimited time period. Consult with doctor, if she is brain dead and she is in coma, there are no chances of her reversal then discuss with your relatives for stopping the ventilatory support which is not curative. If doctors are telling and giving perfect assurance that she will be out of danger within some days, then continue ventilator otherwise there is no point in it.* Be brave and take the lead to decide in this critical stage for your family. Welcome for any further guidance. Thanks dear regards.

My sister undergoing severe pain with piles issue .she has recently undergone breast cancer surgery. Now she has to go for chemotherapy. But her piles issue is killing her strength. Please help.

Dr. Aastha Midha Likhyani 88% (684 ratings)
MBBS, M S General Surgery ,
General Surgeon, Chandigarh
Hi this is not piles. This is called as acute fissure in Ano I would say avoid constipation. Take lots of green leafy vegetables. And sit in warm water three times a day. Contact me again after fifteen days.

Can breast cancer cure in 3rd stage. And what are the symptoms of this stage. Which is the incurable stage in breast cancer.

Dr. Suvendu Maji 92% (372 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Kolkata
Hi lybrate-user Its difficult to say if cure is possible. However cancer breast requires combination of chemotherapy radiotherapy and surgery.

Sir it is true that luteolin that present in carrots is more powerful than tamoxifen to control Harmon receptors in breast cancer?

Dr. Shilpy Dolas 87% (69 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FBD (Fellowship in Breast Diseases), UICC Fellowship
Oncologist, Pune
Tamoxifen is a prooved drug for hormone positive breast cancer. So according to the studies and data which is available tamoxifen is better for hormone positive breast cancer as hormonal treatment.

Hi doctor please suggest me ,my mother is breast cancer survival, now she has diagnosed with mild cardiomegaly in her X-ray ,as I am a medical student I forced her to take 2d echo it suggests that diastolic dysfunction +. And LVRP 60%. And mild aortic sclerosis, but onchosurgeon has suggested no need to worry and he said its normal ,plz suggest me your opinion.

Dr. Shilpy Dolas 87% (69 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FBD (Fellowship in Breast Diseases), UICC Fellowship
Oncologist, Pune
Yes it is ok. Little problem in 2D-Echo won't harm patient as cancer treatment is the first priorty. Oncosurgeons and oncologist always keep watch on these investigations. If any problem will happen they will let you know. So don't worry.

Health Quizzes

Breast Cancer- Signs you must not ignore!

Dr. Anuradha Khurana 91% (156 ratings)
MBBS, DGO
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Any changes in the appearance of the nipples could be a sign of breast cancer. True or False. Take this quiz to know now!
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Breast Cancer and Homoeopathy

Dr. Rashmi Shukla 92% (4189 ratings)
BHMS, MD - Alternate Medicine
Homeopath, Nagpur
Consuming peanuts is bad for your health as they increase your risk of breast cancer. True or false, take this quiz to know more.
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Homeopathy and Breast Cancer

Dr. Uday Naik 88% (88 ratings)
DM & S
Homeopath, Akola
Consuming sugar on a daily basis can help you fight cancer. True or False? Take this quiz and find out.
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Breast Cancer - Factors That Put You At Risk

Dr. Sanjaya Mishra 91% (230 ratings)
MD - Oncology
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Being obese and sitting around for too long will increase the risk of breast cancer. True or False? Take this quiz to know more.
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Men's Health Myths and Facts

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Do know which cancer kills the maximum number of men? Find out this and more by taking this quiz.
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