Breast cancer surgery is a key component of breast cancer treatment that involves removing the cancer with an operation. Breast cancer surgery may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy. For people with a very high risk of breast cancer, breast cancer surgery may be an option to reduce the risk of future breast cancer.
The goal of breast cancer surgery is to remove the tumor itself and a portion of surrounding tissue while conserving as much of the breast as possible.
Breast cancer surgery methods differ in the amount of breast tissue that is taken out with the tumor. That depends on the tumor location, how far it’s spread, and your personal feelings. The surgeon also removes some lymph nodes under the arm so they can be tested for cancer cells. This will help your doctor plan your treatment after surgery.
Before you have surgery for breast cancer, take some time to learn about the different types of procedures. You and your doctor will choose the best option for you.
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
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