Criteria And Procedures For Breast Conservation Surgery
Did You Know?
Women who have undergone breast conservation surgery and coupled with radiation therapy have similar benefits of survival rates compared to women who have had their mastectomy done for breast cancer treatment. Read further to understand breast conservation surgery, its criteria and precautions, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer because awareness is more powerful in tackling breast cancer.
What Is Breast Conservation Surgery?
Breast conservation surgery(BCS) is performed in breast cancer patients to cease the spread of cancerous cells to distant parts. Breast conservation surgery is otherwise known as “lumpectomy” or “segmental mastectomy”. BCS is performed only for early stage breast cancer. Patients diagnosed with advanced stages will be subjected to a mastectomy, a procedure that involves removal of one or both breasts.
Breast conservation surgery is a surgery that involves removal of only the part of the breast that has been confirmed with cancer, not the entire breast. Thereby it is named partial mastectomy.
Have You Ever Wondered Why The Lymph Nodes Are Removed As Part Of Breast Conservation Surgery?
Studies have stated that if breast cancer progresses to advanced stages, it is likely to spread widely via lymph nodes to other parts of the body. That is where the BCS plays a significant role in retarding the development of the disease.
Although breast conservation surgery has got lots of positive sides, be mindful of the downside and complications as well. Though they may not be serious, you must be aware of the risks that include surgical site infection, breast swelling, and change in the appearance of the breast.
Take Heed Of Few Important Things Before Undergoing The BCS
- Before having this surgery, please talk with your doctor and inform them about your allergies, even to rubber, latex, medications, and food. It is of utmost importance that you mention your medicine and medical history to your doctor before undergoing a BCS.
- You will need blood tests and certain imaging studies done before the BCS. Your surgeon will perform the surgery only after obtaining proper medical fitness.
- BCS surgery will be done under general anesthesia.
- Your surgeon may extract some of the lumps present in only one area in the breast. According to surgical science, our breasts are divided into four quadrants, and the surgery will be performed based on the location of the lump.
- Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation levels will be monitored throughout the surgery.
Check With The Following Conditions To Know If You Are Eligible For A Lumpectomy
- Only one area of your breast is affected with cancer.
- Willing to complete radiation therapy after the procedure.
- Tumor size is less than 5cm or 2 inches.
Know About The Conditions Where Lumpectomy Is Not A Good Option
- Your genetic test report detects the presence of gene mutation in the BRCA gene, as it is associated with a second chance of breast cancer.
- History of radiation therapy or BCS performed previously on that same breast .
- If you are diagnosed with Inflammatory breast cancer.
- Any medical condition such as lupus, that increases the side effects of radiation therapy.
- Any bleeding disorders or inflammatory disease.
How Is Breast Conservation Surgery Done?
Know about the steps involved in breast conservation surgery. Although the procedure for BCS varies from the patient due to their associated conditions, stages, and location of lumps. Let’s discuss the common BCS procedure here.
- A tiny cut will be made in the breasts and the surgeon will remove all the lumps and extra breast tissues. During the BCS only the cancer lumps and tissues will be removed.
- All the extracted materials will be sent to the lab for biopsy and other molecular testing.
- If any abnormal lymph nodes are noticed, a separate incision will be made in the armpit and the sample will also be sent for examination. A drain tube will be inserted into the incision site.
- The surgical site will be stitched and covered with adhesive tapes, and sterile bandage.
Post-surgical stay at the hospital: After the surgery, the patient will be watched closely until the vitals become stable. Once your vitals such as blood pressure, and pulse are back to normal, you will be shifted to the ward and the doctor will need to monitor you for 1-2 days. The patient will only be discharged based on their recovery from anaesthesia and other medical conditions.
Post BCS Care:
However, post BCS, you need to follow proper personal hygiene and take proper care of the surgical site
- You will be advised to follow a particular bathing procedure.
- Ensure to keep the surgical site clean and dry even the adhesives and bandages should be kept dry.
- The patient may experience pain based on the quantity of tissue or lump taken off and also depends on the location. But do not distress, this pain is very normal and it will get subsided within a short span of time.
- Take only the prescribed medications. Your doctor might prescribe pain-relieving medications and antibiotics, continue it for a few days as directed by your physician.
- You must report to your doctor if you experience any post-surgery effects such as fever, unbearable pain, chills, swelling or redness, or any abnormality in the surgical site.
If your BCS has involved the removal of lymph nodes, you need to be more cautious as the lymphatic drainage may cause any infection if proper care has not been taken. Moreover, you may need to follow the below steps religiously:
- Be careful and avoid measuring your blood pressure over the surgery sidearm
- Avoid wearing tight sleeves or jewellery that constricts the affected side.
- Be aware of insects and bee stings. It is better to use insect repellent to avoid extreme reactions.
- Elevate your arm above elbow level to ease the lymphatic flow and to avoid swelling.
- You may feel a tingling sensation around your armpit, yet don’t scratch or get injured on the affected side.
Treatment Post BCS:
Radiation therapy will be followed post breast conservation surgery to eliminate the remaining cancerous cells that have not been withdrawn during the surgery. If you are pregnant you can have your breast conservation surgery alone and postpone your radiation therapy after your delivery to prevent the radiation affecting your baby.
Don’t panic! Your oncologist will explain the procedure, risks, and benefits prior to BCS, and this surgery will be conducted only after administering sedatives and local anaesthetics to relax your body. Anyways the BCS will be conducted only after obtaining consent from the patient or caretaker.
“ Lumpectomy: A Cure For Your Breast Cancer”
Right after the surgery you may feel slight discomfortness, but it can easily be overcome. Restwell and you can resume with your normal activities within 2-3 weeks after your breast conservation surgery. Don’t strain into heavy activities by lifting weights or exerting a lot in cleaning activities until then. If you worry about the appearance of your breast post BCS, discuss with your doctor regarding the reconstructive breast surgery to regain its shape. Above all, keep in mind to go for follow- up visits post-surgery to know the status of the medical condition.