Mahaska Health Partnership Shares Breast Cancer Treatment Options
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, in light of the designation, Mahaska Health Partnership is educating the public on the surgical procedures available from the hospital’s general surgeons.
When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer there are several options for treatment, depending on the symptoms, risk factors and stage. MHP General Surgeons Paul Riggs, MD, FACS, and Tim Breon, MD, FACS, perform breast tissue biopsies, lumpectomies and mastectomies.
“Each case of breast cancer is different and will have a different method of treatment,” said Dr. Breon, “We want to preserve as much natural tissue as possible, but removing all of the cancer is our main priority.”
According to the American Cancer Society, a lumpectomy is the removal of a breast tumor or lump and some of the normal tissue that surrounds it to ensure the cancer is removed. The amount of tissue removed varies depending on the size of the lump. Drs. Riggs and Breon will explain how much tissue will be removed and what kind of scar you will have before you have the surgery.
“We often refer to lumpectomies as breast-conserving surgeries because only a portion of the breast is removed,” explained Dr. Breon, “If the cancer is caught soon enough, a full mastectomy may be able to be avoided.
“Following a lumpectomy, the breast is closed in a way that preserves the conformation of the breast; often times making it difficult to notice that surgery was even performed.”
Mastectomies are performed when the cancer is too advanced to do a lumpectomy or less invasive procedure. This surgery involves the removal of the entire breast as a means of treating or preventing breast cancer. Many patients who undergo mastectomies elect to have breast reconstruction surgery to restore natural breast shape.
Lastly, lymph nodes are typically biopsied or removed at the time of the surgery to identify cancers that may spread and to help identify the stage of the disease, ultimately determining the need for chemotherapy.
“If you notice any changes in your breast tissue, contact Dr. Riggs or myself to schedule an appointment,” advised Dr. Breon, “Keep in mind that most breast changes are not cancer, but the only way to know for sure is to seek medical attention.”