"Pink October": how to preserve or restore breasts with a diagnosis of breast cancer
We are continuing our series of texts for World Breast Cancer Awareness Month Pink October.
For a century or more, breast cancer (BC) went hand in hand with mutilation. This was due to the level of diagnosis, the capabilities of the surgeons and the likelihood of recurrence. Fortunately, in recent decades, health researchers are increasingly thinking about how to not only cure a person, but also preserve their quality of life. Therefore, in the 21st century, such a direction has developed as reconstruction (restoration of the breast with an implant or its own tissues) after cancer.
As before, operations on the mammary gland are divided into two types :
- complete removal of the breast (mastectomy);
- partial removal of the affected part of the breast. Salajeet
It is important to understand that each operation is performed based on the specifics of the diagnosis and with your consent. Therefore, it is very important not to be shy about asking questions and getting answers to them. Discuss with the surgeon all possible options that are realistic in your case, focus with him on the current indications. Keep in mind that recent evidence suggests that partial and total resections are similarly effective in treating breast cancer over the long term. At the same time, there is work according to which the survival rate among patients with partial excision was slightly higher. Her findings also suggest that, most likely, differences in survival may not be due to surgery, but to other unknown reasons. It is still impossible to find out for sure.
Breast removal (mastectomy)
Usually a mastectomy is prescribed because of multiple lesions, bleeding, and complications. In some cases, you may be advised to undergo a preventive mastectomy if you have a confirmed mutation in the BRCA 1, 2 gene with a high risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Do not be afraid if removal is prescribed at an early (first or second) stage of breast cancer. It all depends on the type of breast cancer – and there are many of them, and what will work for one patient will not work for another. In many cases, if the removal is done earlier, the operation will be more gentle and the reconstruction will be less difficult. Often in such cases, more skin can be saved, as well as the nipple so that the implant can easily fit under them.
Important: if the doctor has confirmed the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, it is not advisable to perform a mastectomy (with some exceptions, which you must be informed about).
Partial removal of breast tissue
Depending on the type of breast cancer, a woman at an early stage of the disease may have a choice between complete and partial removal of breast tissue. So, again, it’s important to ask your doctor about all options. Shilajit
Breast-conserving surgeries differ depending on the extent of the intervention. Sometimes doctors remove the affected tissue and a minor defect (scar) remains in place. In some cases, a relatively large amount of tissue can be replaced with an oily skin flap.
It is worth remembering that with partial tissue removal, most often the patient also needs radiation (radiation therapy). However, in rare cases, if cancer is found early, it may not be needed. Radiation therapy may have complications that can also affect the prospects for reconstruction in the future: skin thinning, hyperpigmentation, burns.
Reconstruction of the mammary gland is its restoration to anatomical shape after an illness. Now the so-called one-stage reconstruction is gaining popularity, when doctors first perform a mastectomy and immediately, if possible, install implants.
However, the tissue after removal is not always sufficient for various reasons. In these cases, the restoration operation is postponed: first, a temporary implant is placed in the place of the future permanent implant – it stretches the skin.
In some cases, the patient may be offered to restore the lost volumes using their own fat. These are also not easy operations: sometimes you can restore the breast with a flap, and in some cases – with lipofilling. It all depends on the required volume and other indications.
Complications of breast reconstruction
After any intervention in the body, complications may appear, and breast reconstruction is no exception. You need to be prepared for them. Discuss possible complications with your doctor.
- Dying off of tissues (necrosis), with which the breast was restored;
- infection and inflammation of the wound;
- loss of breast and nipple sensitivity;
- weakness of the chest muscles;
- change in sensations in the hand from the side of the breast on which the operation was performed;
- mobility, leakage, rupture of the implant;
- bumps on the chest;
- the need for additional operations.
Questions are the most important
Feel free to ask questions : when it comes to health, there are no stupid questions!
- Is there a possibility of breast reconstruction in my case?
- When can reconstruction be done?
- What are the pros and cons of single-stage breast reconstruction and delayed breast reconstruction?
- Is it possible to do this operation while chemotherapy?
- Is it possible to have surgery on the background of radiation therapy?
- What types of reconstruction can be counted on in my case and what are their pros and cons?
- Which option is best for me and why?
- How much does each type of renovation cost? Is it possible to perform an operation under the compulsory medical insurance? Where can I do this?
- How long does it take to recover on average?
- How many similar operations have you done before?
- Do I need to have surgery on the other side of the breast so that they are not much different?
- How can a nipple be restored?
- What potential complications should I be aware of?
- What happens if I gain or lose weight?
- How will age affect the reconstructed breast?
- Can I see photos of the results of such operations?
- Can I talk to women who have had similar surgeries for breast cancer?
If you don’t understand the doctor right away, ask for more. If your questions are not answered, something confuses you or there is no contact with a doctor – always try to get a second opinion.