Once a diagnosis of Breast Cancer has been made, the doctor will decide the stage of the disease depending on the size of the mass, skin involvement, axillary lymph node involvement and involvement of distant tissues.
A proper treatment plan can then be formulated.
The surgical treatment today lays emphasis on Breast Conservation Surgery where the surgical excision of the lump and a normal margin of breast tissue is carried out. This has to be accompanied by management of the axilla or armpit in the form of a sentinel node biopsy and/or axillary lymph node dissection in which all fatty tissue, lymphatics and lymph nodes of the axilla of the affected side are cleared.
As per the stage of the disease, surgical treatment is followed up with certain other modalities of treatment called Adjuvant therapy
i)Chemotherapy ii) Radiotherapy and iii) Hormonal Therapy
Neo Adjuvant Therapy
In case of a large lump, if Breast Conservation Therapy is planned, the patient needs to undergo a few sessions of chemo or radiotherapy prior to the surgery. This Neo-Adjuvant therapy will help to downsize the lump and hence help in achieving a surgery aimed at conserving as much breast tissue as is safely possible.
In conditions where it is not possible to conserve the breast, a radical surgery called Modified Radical Mastectomy is performed. This includes excision of the entire breast on the involved side along with complete removal of all fatty and lymphatic tissue from the corresponding axilla or armpit.
Following surgery, the patient has an option of immediate or delayed reconstruction of the excised breast which can be achieved by many plastic surgical procedures.