If you have had breast biopsies and the Doctor confirms that you have breast cancer then they may suggest that the first treatment step in the process is a Lumpectomy procedure. So what is a Lumpectomy procedure?
A Lumpectomy procedure is a minimally invasive procedure to remove a cancerous lump from the breasts. It preserves other tissue and attempts to avoid the need for breast reconstruction. During the Lumpectomy procedure the tumor along with surrounding tissue is removed to ensure all cancerous breast cells are removed so the likelihood of the breast cancer returning is low. A Lumpectomy procedure can be cosmetically if done by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, using small incisions in discreet places where possible so there is minimal scarring afterward.
Who is a Candidate for a Lumpectomy Procedure
Not every breast cancer patient will be able to have a Lumpectomy procedure, it is usually more suitable for patients with large breasts, or small tumors. During the consultation with your surgeon they will be able to advise likely how much tissue they will need to remove, the size of the incisions and what their suggestions are on ensuring a cosmetically pleasing outcome.
Typically the incisions for Lumpectomy procedures are placed in natural creases and lines in the body where possible so they aren’t as visible afterward. If the surgery will likely leave the breast looking deformed then a reconstruction plan will be put in place which may including breast reduction surgery, fat transfer or implant surgery.
Treatment After a Lumpectomy Procedure
Following the Lumpectomy procedure there will likely still be further treatment for your cancer, even if the whole of the cancerous tumor is removed. This treatment may include IV medicines, or pills. Or it may include radiation therapy which is projected directly onto the site of the cancer, which will ensure complete eradication of the cancer cells and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Because radiation can change the shape of your breasts somewhat, reconstructive surgeries are bets left until after the radiation treatment course has been completed. The treatment plan for each individual will vary depending on the size, extent and type of cancer found within the breasts. And the treatment plan may emerge or divert as time goes by based on the results of biopsies, the Lumpectomy procedure, and further treatment.
Throughout your breast cancer treatment several biopsies will be taken, whether fine needle, core needle or surgical biopsies to remove small amounts of tissue. This is so the tissues can be tested by pathology labs to check if cancer is still present in the breasts. They will also remove healthy tissue for comparison purposes.
So a Lumpectomy procedure is not always the last step in your breast cancer treatment, it is usually the first surgical step and should be relatively successful at removing the large majority if not all of the cancerous cells in your breasts. Sometimes additional Lumpectomy procedures may need to be performed if later further lumps are discovered.