Breast Cancer Operations
Various surgical procedures are possible for breast cancer. Before the actual breast cancer operation, it is usually clarified whether breast cancer really is present.
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The treatment of breast cancer largely depends on the type of breast cancer. The treatment is always individual and “step by step”, i.e.: A decision about the next therapy step can often only be made when the result of the previous one is available. For this reason, it is not possible to name a generally applicable therapeutic procedure. Support options and therapies are therefore only briefly described in this overview. These can be used individually or in combination.
Disease Management Program
Breast cancer is one of the diseases for which a so-called disease management program is offered. This is to systematically ensure high-quality treatment.
copies and reports
For patients with (other) serious illnesses, it makes sense to create a folder with copies of their important health reports. The family doctor/gynaecologist can provide copies of the preliminary findings for this purpose. If the patient wants to have an overview of diagnoses and therapy, it is advisable to keep a patient diary.
After the hospital stay or at the end of the therapy, the patient should ask for a copy of the hospital report and the doctor’s letter as well as her x-rays. A completed tumor passport is also important, in which, for example, information about the course of the disease can be noted.
Overview of the forms of treatment
As part of the examination, a relatively minor procedure can be carried out in which tissue samples are taken (biopsy). The tissue is then examined histologically (subtle) to clarify the suspicion of cancer.
Neoadjuvant or preoperative therapy refers to therapies that take place before an operation and basically aim to shrink the tumor. These are usually radiation or drug therapies.
The core of the treatment is usually the removal of the tumor with an operation.
Adjuvant (supporting) therapy refers to subsequent therapy steps, usually chemotherapy and radiation, more rarely anti-hormone therapy and molecular-biological therapy. They support the surgical therapy. In rare cases, they are also used exclusively.
Various surgical procedures are possible for breast cancer. Before the actual breast cancer operation, it is usually clarified whether breast cancer really is present. If there are still doubts, the tissue in question will be removed in an operation (“quick cut”) and examined immediately.
Depending on the result of the histological examination, the doctor decides on the surgical procedure with the greatest benefit. In principle, all tissue areas suspected of being cancerous, including any affected lymph nodes, are removed. The size of the tumor is decisive for the surgical procedure.
- breast-conserving surgery;
For smaller tumors, breast-conserving surgery can be performed. This is usually followed by radiation of the entire breast.
Depending on the findings, it may be necessary to remove the entire breast (mastectomy, mastectomy, detachment). If the large pectoral muscle underneath the breast tissue has already been affected, parts of this muscle are also removed.
- edge hem;
When the tumor is operated on, a sufficiently large, tumor-free edge is removed to be on the safe side (safety margin).
- Lymph nodes in the armpit;
At least one lymph node in the armpit is often removed. A separate incision is usually made in the armpit for this purpose. The so-called sentinel lymph node is examined immediately to determine whether tumor cells have already spread further in the body. If there are no cancer cells in the sentinel node (there can also be 2 or 3 sentinel nodes), the tumor has probably not yet spread. If a sentinel node is affected, other or all lymph nodes are usually removed.
- Surgery at DCIS;
DCIS is a precursor to breast cancer that is limited to the milk ducts. Depending on the spread of the altered cells, breast-conserving surgery can be performed or a mastectomy must be recommended. Whether radiotherapy and/or the removal of lymph nodes is necessary is decided on an individual basis.
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