In the age of modern technologies and powerful progress a serious problem remains unsolved – a complete cure of cancer, including breast cancer. However, we can say that the problem, even partially, but still is resolved. Modern medicine offers woman treatment by removing the breast, following the principle: renounce less, save more. In this case we are talking about the life of patients with breast cancer.
So doctors suggest women to choose the method of removal of the breast:
- Mastectomy – to remove the diseased gland completely,
- Lumpectomy – to remove the tumor, that is, partial removal of the breast followed by one course of radiation therapy.
Lumpectomy can be described as sparing surgery. Lumpectomy (removal of a breast tumor) in combination with radiotherapy gives equivalent results as mastectomy in the case when a woman has a tumor in only one area of the breast and its dimensions are less than 4 cm.
Today, women diagnosed with breast cancer have a right to participate in choosing the method of operation, in particular between the complete removal of the affected breast (mastectomy) or breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation treatment (radiotherapy).
Although the vast majority of women, of course, prefer less radical and “crippling” treatment for breast cancer, it is still necessary to take into account a number of important factors affecting the outcome, as well as the choice of the surgery.
First, you must define the concepts of what is the difference between mastectomy and lumpectomy:
These are different methods of surgery to remove a cancerous breast tumor. The indication for the operation is the presence or absence of metastasis, as well as some important factors which are described below:
- The size of the tumor and the possibility of its removal with clean edges.
- If there are any contraindications to radiation therapy;
- Will there be a breast reconstructive surgery;
- will mastectomy help you reduce anxiety for breast cancer recurrent;
- How it is important for a woman to keep the chest.
It should be noted that women living in the United States are more inclined to mastectomy.
Advantages and disadvantages of lumpectomy
The main advantage of lumpectomy – is shape retention of the female breast and its sensitivity. Lumpectomy surgery is less invasive compared to mastectomy, that is why the recovery period after lumpectomy is lighter, and shorter.
However, along with the benefits, we must not forget about the drawbacks, for example:
- After a lumpectomy, radiotherapy is inevitable for 5 – 7 weeks, in the results of which all cancer cells are destroyed. However, radiation therapy has some unpleasant side effects (nausea, vomiting, malaise, partial or complete loss of hair, and others.). Though over time, these problems disappear. Hair restores.
- Women who have undergone a lumpectomy compared to women who have had a mastectomy have a much greater risk of local recurrence of breast cancer.
- In case of recurrence or development a new cancer in the same place where a lumpectomy with radiation exposure was previously carried out, to endure repeated exposure is very, very difficult.
Advantages and disadvantages of mastectomy
Mastectomy (a complete removal of the breast) will certainly give more chances to absolute recovery than lumpectomy. Unfortunately, however, it should be noted that a mastectomy which many women decide to do for their own reassurance, doesn’t give a full guarantee against the return of secondary breast cancer. Moreover, after this operation, as in the case of a lumpectomy, you may also need a course of radiotherapy. It depends on the results of histological examination of the removed tissue.
Mastectomy is endowed with three quite significant drawbacks:
- After this operation, a woman loses her breast.
- The operation is more extensive, and lasts longer, is characterized by a large number of side effects than lumpectomy and a longer postoperative period.
- If a woman is planning reconstructive surgery, she must undergo one more surgical intervention – possibly in several stages.
During the operation, the skin is removed exclusively in the area of the areola nipple and biopsy incision, in order to prevent the further spread of the cancer. The rest of the skin allows quite significantly to improve the effect of reconstructive operation through local tissues or silicone implants.
If a woman after mastectomy does not intend to carry out reconstructive surgery, the surgeon usually removes more skin to do the surface of the breast flat. But if a woman plans to undergo reconstructive surgery, the surgeon may perform a mastectomy with the preservation of the skin.
It is worth noting that this type of mastectomy is absolutely unacceptable, if the cancer has moved to the skin, for example, in inflammatory breast cancer.
For women, in psychological terms, the breast is an important part of personality, and patients often prefer to save it. This is perfectly acceptable as long as it does not threaten the health or reduce the chances of a full recovery.