Surgery for breast cancer
Treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer usually includes surgery. Which surgery your doctor suggests will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, where it is in the breast, the size of your breast, and what you prefer. In most cases, you will have one or more lymph nodes removed from the armpit. This is called axillary surgery. Some people also choose to have a new breast shape made during the operation breast reconstruction.
Learn more about:
- Which surgery should I have?
- Breast-conserving surgery
- Breast reconstruction
- Removing lymph nodes
- What to expect after breast surgery
- What your breast looks like after surgery
- Side effects of surgery
The two types of surgery are breast conserving surgery and mastectomy. Depending on your situation, you may be offered a choice between the two. Breast-conserving surgery is usually not suitable for males because there is not enough breast tissue in the male breast. Research has shown that for most early breast cancer, having breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy works just as well as a mastectomy. The chance of the cancer coming back in another part of the body is the same for both types of surgery. The operations have different benefits, risks and side effects. Talk to your doctor about the best option for you. The Neoadjuvant Patient Decision Aid may help you decide on any pre-surgery therapy.
For more on this, see our general section on Surgery.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and The University of Sydney, NSW; Collette Butler, Clinical Nurse Consultant and McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Cancer Support Centre, Launceston, TAS; Tania Cercone, Consumer; Kate Cox, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare, SA; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Dr Hilda High, Genetic Oncologist, Sydney Cancer Genetics, NSW; Prof David W Kissane AC, Chair of Palliative Medicine Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Prof Sherene Loi, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr W Kevin Patterson, Medical Oncologist, Adelaide Oncology and Haematology, SA; Angela Thomas, Consumer; Iwa Yeung, Physiotherapist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
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