Surgery for Breast Cancer Treatment

How is surgery used in breast cancer treatment?

Surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible is the primary treatment for breast cancer. Today, women have many surgical options and choices. The type of surgery performed depends upon:

  • the size and location of the breast lump or tumor
  • the type and stage of the breast cancer (If the cancer has spread within the breast or has spread outside of the breast to the lymph nodes, or to other parts of the body.)
  • the size of the breast
  • the woman’s preference
breast surgery

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There are several types of breast surgery. Your physician can explain the benefits and risks of each type, in addition to answering any questions or concerns you may have prior to surgery.

Questions to ask your physician before surgery:

  • Which type of surgery do you recommend for me? Why?
  • Where will the incision be located and how much of the breast tissue will be removed?
  • Will any lymph nodes be removed?
  • Will I be able to have breast reconstruction if I have a mastectomy?
  • Do you recommend breast reconstruction at the same time of the mastectomy surgery or at a later date?
  • Will additional treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy be required following surgery?
  • What type of follow-up care is needed?
  • How long will it be before I resume my normal activities?

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