Breast conserving surgery is not an obstacle to breastfeeding!
The incidence of breast cancer, which occurs in 1 out of every 8 women in the society, is increasing regularly. Every year, 1 million people are newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the breast-conserving methods applied in surgery, which has a very important place in the treatment of breast cancer, only cancerous tissue is removed, breast loss can be prevented, and the patient spends the healing process comfortably. Thanks to these special surgeries, patients can breastfeed their babies when they have a baby. Memorial Antalya Hospitals General Surgery Department Head Prof. Dr. Alihan Gürkan gave information about breast-conserving surgeries applied in breast cancer.
Intact tissues are preserved
In breast cancer surgery, it is vital that the cancerous tissues are completely cleaned and removed from the area. Studies have shown that the results in breast-conserving surgery are not different from the results obtained from the methods in which the entire breast is removed. Therefore, today, both general surgeons and patients mostly prefer breast-conserving surgeries. Breast conserving surgeries are easier than many surgeries, take a short time, and the patient’s healthy tissues are not removed unnecessarily.
Relapse risk is minimized
In order for breast-conserving surgery to be performed, the cancer must have originated from a single focus or, if it is multifocal, at least close to each other. Again, for breast-conserving surgeries, there should be a proportionality between breast size and the size of the tumor. For example, if the breast is very small and the tumor is large, breast-conserving surgery may not be aesthetically preferred. Surgical margins are also very important for all cancer surgeries. If these borders are not clear in the pathology examination, a new piece is taken and more tissue is removed from the area specified by the pathologist. In this way, it is ensured that no cancer cells remain in the tissue at the end of the surgery. This minimizes the risk of cancer recurrence in a short time.
There are no complaints such as swelling and immobility in the arm.
In breast cancer, the first and most important spread of the disease is the axillary lymph nodes. With a dye given during the operation, the sentinel lymph nodes in the armpit are found and the lymph nodes found are sent to pathology during the operation. If no tumor is detected in the lymph nodes as a result of pathology, the rate of not encountering any tumors anywhere in the armpit is 98%. In this case, only the tumor area is taken under the armpit. In this way, lymph nodes are not removed from the armpit unnecessarily, and thus; Surgery complications such as swelling in the arm and immobility are not encountered.
Breast conserving surgery adds morale and motivation to the patient
After all breast-conserving surgeries, radiotherapy is applied to the patient to minimize the risk of cancer cells remaining behind. Patients’ biggest post-treatment concerns are that they will not be able to breastfeed after having a baby. However, since the breast tissue is completely cleared of cancer after breast-conserving surgery, there is no harm in breastfeeding the baby. There is no age limit for surgery, and breast-conserving surgery is an option that raises morale during the disease process when preferred in suitable patients.
In which cases breast-conserving surgery cannot be performed?
- Tumor in more than one place in the breast
- having a pregnancy status
- Centrally located tumor under the nipple
- Small breast tissue and large tumor diameter
- Disease spread outside the breast tissue
- The patient has a systemic disease affecting the skin
- Restriction of the patient’s ability to receive radiotherapy
- The patient has previously received radiotherapy