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:
- 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.