Breast Cancer - Surgery
Most people with
breast cancer have surgery to remove the cancer. You may have breast-conserving surgery or surgery to remove the entire breast. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed to check for cancer cells.
The kind of surgery you have may depend on the size and location of your cancer and your personal preferences.
- Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast-Conserving Surgery or a Mastectomy for Early-Stage Cancer?
Surgery that allows you to keep your breast
Talk to your doctor about what your breast might look like after
Removal of the breast (mastectomy)
Mastectomy procedures include:
- Total or simple mastectomy, which is the removal of the whole breast.
- Modified radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the
breast, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, and sometimes part of the chest
- Radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast, chest muscles, and all
of the lymph nodes under the arm (axillary lymph node dissection). This surgery is rarely used.
After mastectomy, a new breast can be reconstructed. Your surgeon will rebuild the shape of your breast using artificial implants or tissue from other parts of your body.
If you want breast reconstruction, talk to your doctor before your surgery is planned. You may be able to have breast reconstruction immediately following your mastectomy.
Or your doctor may suggest that you wait until later for breast reconstruction if you are going to have further treatment, such as radiation. If so, you may want to use a breast prosthesis until you have your reconstruction.
- Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy?
For more information about
reconstructive surgery, see the topic
Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures.