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Types of Breast Cancer Surgery: When Are They Recommended?

The fact that you are diagnosed with breast cancer is not the end of your life. You are not alone on earth with this health problem. A number of treatment options are available. Besides modifying your lifestyle and taking alternative medicine, you can have medical intervention like breast cancer surgery. The doctor will usually recommend the surgical options depending upon your condition.

Most people consider the word surgery as traumatic. However, the patients may show certain conditions, which indicated surgery. Beast cancer surgery is usually recommended for the following purposes:

ü  To remove the cancer as much as possible;

ü  To find out whether the cancerous cells attack the lymph nodes in your armpit;

ü  To restore the shape of your breast. This is usually necessary as a part of breast reconstruction (after the cancer is removed);

ü  To relieve the symptoms and delay the further signs

Types of Breast Cancer Surgery

There are actually two general types of breast cancer surgery, breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy.  Severity of the cancerous cell attacks is the main consideration for choosing the type of surgery. However, the doctor will also consider your personal preferences.

Breast-Conserving Option

As the name suggests, this type of surgery tries to conserve the breast. The doctor may recommend this is the tumor is still small enough and only attacks certain part of the breast. Part of the breast, which contains the cancerous cells, is removed, to maintain the surrounding normal tissues. The breast-conserving surgery is further classified into four. The least invasive one is called lumpectomy. There are also quadrantectomy and partial and segmental mastectomy.

Breast-conserving surgery allows the women to keep most of their breast. In some cases, the patients will need radiation. Nonetheless, the need for radiation can be minimized by having the cancer detected at its early stage. Some patients may worry that less invasive surgery like lumpectomy increases the risk of cancer cells for coming back. However, studies show that when lumpectomy, which is combined with radiation, is conducted at early stage, the benefit is the same with that of mastectomy.


This type of surgery may be indicated when the tumor is found in several parts of the breast. This is actually the most difficult options for both the patients and the doctor since it may involve removal of the entire breast (including all the breast tissues and surrounding tissues). In the most severe cases, the patient may need double mastectomy (removal of both breasts) and a radical mastectomy.

Breast cancer surgery is indeed an invasive intervention and it can be traumatic for many patients. Accordingly, if the patients are not ready for it, the doctor may recommend hormone treatment or chemotherapy to curtail the cancerous cell growth and shrink the size of tumor. This way, the surgical procedure will be easier and less traumatic.  

Furthermore, another reconstruction surgery may be necessary after the cancer cells are removed. This is an optional surgery. Some women choose to take it to restore their breast’s appearance after removal of the breast. If you decide to take it in the future, make sure to inform your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon before the mastectomy.

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