October is breast cancer awareness month. Every year come out of this month helps make fantastic advances in breast cancer detection and treatment. However, despite all of this, it remains that many women do not know there are options in terms of breast cancer surgery. The focus, it seems, has not been on the various surgical options that are out there or on the breast reconstruction process. It is understandable that the focus remains on early detection, however, but they should not mean that women are not given the full picture.
Breast Cancer Surgery Options
When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, it is normal for them to panic. The result is that they don’t feel as if they have the time to do their research on the various options that are out there. Not just that, not every surgical technique is offered by every hospital. Thankfully, this has now been recognized by various activists, who have created the Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) day, which takes place on October 15th of each year. This aims to address and resolve the educational gap that remains in place.
The lumpectomy is one surgical option that is out there and this is the least invasive of all. It means that only the tumour is taken out and as much as possible of the original breast tissue is untouched. However, depending on where the tumor is and how large it is, a lumpectomy can leave the breast as significantly deformed.
Then, there is the mastectomy, which is a far more extensive surgical option. It means the entire breast is removed. Patients should then be given the option of whether they wish to remain without breasts or whether they would prefer for a new breast to be created. Breast reconstruction is the formation of a new breast and a procedure that is completed by a plastic surgeon who works together with the oncology breast surgeon. Sometimes, both procedures can be done at the same time, although it is common for women to have to return for further surgery.
Should a woman choose to have a breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, she also has a lot of different options available to her and these should also be explained. Traditionally, and expander would be placed under the remaining breast tissue during the mastectomy. Essentially, this is an empty balloon. Once the patient has recovered, the balloon will be inflated slowly comma until the size the woman wants has been reached. Once that is achieved, the expander will be replaced with either an implant or tissue from the woman’s own body. Using a 3D tattoo, women can also add a nipple. It is a lengthy process, but one that most women do choose.
Alternatively, they can opt for the skin sparing mastectomy, which means that the external breast tissue remains in place and is fitted over new body tissue. Women can also choose the nipple sparing mastectomy, which is the most advanced option out there today, meaning that none of the external breast tissue is removed but the internal tissue is replaced immediately with implants or a body tissue. Because this leaves the original areola and nipple intact, it creates the most natural looking result.