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.
Because the ovaries are the main source of estrogen in pre-menopausal women, treatment that shuts down the ovaries and stops estrogen production can be effective for some women. Ovarian suppression is typically accomplished with hormone therapy, using drugs such as leuprorelin (Lupron) or goserelin (Zoladex).