Breast Cancer Surgery

  • Helen Cappuccino, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor, Division of Breast Surgery, discusses surgical options with a breast cancer patient.

Removing the cancer surgically is almost always the primary treatment for breast cancer. Roswell Park offers the full range of options ranging from breast-conserving lumpectomy to mastectomy with advanced reconstructive surgery:

If breast cancer is caught in the early stages, a mastectomy can often be avoided. Dr. Kumar explains alternative treatments.

  • Lumpectomy: Surgery to remove the tumor along with some surrounding healthy tissue, leaving the margins (tissue bordering the tumor) free from cancer.
  • Quadrantectomy: A breast-conserving surgery, this procedure removes one-fourth of the breast tissue.
  • Mastectomy: Surgery to remove all the breast tissue. The most common type of mastectomy today is called a modified radical mastectomy, in which the breast tissue is removed but the muscles in the chest wall are spared, preserving arm strength.
  • Lymphadenectomy: Surgery to remove one or more lymph nodes in the tumor area. Nodes are then examined for cancer by our pathology department.
  • Oophorectomy: Removing the female ovaries to decrease hormone production.
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery: Surgery to restore or improve the appearance of the breast. Some women choose to have reconstruction surgery at the time of a mastectomy; others defer a decision about reconstruction until a later time.

Breast Seed Localization

For patients undergoing lumpectomy, we use a new, more patient-friendly procedure, called radioactive seed localization, to mark breast cancers found with mammography that are too small to feel.

The localization, which may be done up to a week before undergoing a lumpectomy, places a titanium seed into the abnormal breast tissue to precisely mark the correct spot for surgery. The implanted seed contains a small amount of sealed radiation. During surgery, the seed is located using a radiation detection device. Both the seed and the cancer are removed, leaving no residual radioactivity in the breast.

This method ultimately improves surgeons’ ability to achieve clear, cancer-free margins around the tumor, therefore reducing the need for additional surgery.

RPCI is the only WNY facility to offer radioactive seed localization.