From the initial screening process and diagnostic services, to treatment and post-surgical care, Wise Health System is passionate about providing a caring, comfortable environment for women with breast cancer.
Stages of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is identified in “stages” ranging from Level 0 (non-invasive cancer with no spreading of cancerous cells to normal tissue or lymph nodes) to Level IV (the most advanced stage with the cancer having spread to other organs or tissues in the body away from the breast.)
Staging is conducted to help give doctors an idea for your prognosis and help guide treatment decisions.
Types of Breast Surgery
In a lumpectomy, only the lump itself and surrounding tissue is removed. Most often radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy is used following surgery.
A partial mastectomy involves removing part of the affected breast along with the lump itself. A quadrantectomy is a partial mastectomy in which one quarter of the breast is removed. As with a lumpectomy, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may follow.
With any of these surgeries, if cancer cells are detected in the tissue that’s been removed, an additional surgery, called a re-excision, may need to be performed to remove more tissue to make sure the patient has clear margins (when no cancer cells remain at the tissue edges).
If the surgeon is not able to remove enough breast tissue alone to get clear margins, a full mastectomy to remove the entire affected breast may be needed. And if needed, a double tastectomy will be performed to remove both breasts. This is done most often as a preventative surgery in women who are at very high risk for breast cancer.
For many women who’ve had a mastectomy, what their body will look like post-surgery is often a big concern. Body image and self esteem are an important part of who we are and the effects of breast surgery are emotional as well as physical. Breast reconstruction surgery can help.
For many women, reconstructive surgery is the option they choose to restore their breasts to a normal shape, size and appearance. Often times, reconstructive surgery can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy, If you’ll be going through radiation therapy, you may have to wait.
There are different types of reconstructive surgery, ranging from implants to tissue flap procedures – which use a patient’s own tissue from another part of the body to rebuild the breast. Talk to your doctor and plastic surgeon about your choices before your mastectomy, this will give them a treatment plan that is best for you, even if you aren’t having reconstructive surgery right away.
Questions to ask your plastic surgeon:
- Am I a candidate for reconstructive surgery?
- What type of reconstruction surgery would be best for me?
- How many procedures will I need?
- What are the risks and complications associated with these procedures?
- What is the recovery time?
Questions for Your Doctor
- What will my treatment be?
- How soon after diagnosis do I begin treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What are the risks and side effects?
- How do I prepare for surgery?
- When can I go back to work?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
Surgery: What to Expect
- Discuss medical history with your doctor. Even if you think it’s irrelevant or even embarrassing. It’s important to your safety for your physician to know everything, including any medications you are currently taking, and any past reactions to medications or procedures.
- Pre-op testing to assure you’re body is ready for surgery. This may include EKG and chest x-rays to show proper heart and lung function, blood tests to check blood counts, liver and kidney function, and a urine test to check kidney function.
- Donate blood to ensure your own blood is available should you need additional blood during surgery.
Day of Surgery
- Meet with the anesthesiologist to go over your medical history and any allergies you may have.
- Sign consent forms.
- You’ll be prepped for surgery in the operating room after you’ve been anesthetized. This includes a blood pressure cuff, electrocardiograph machine to monitor your heart rate, a finger clip to measure your blood oxygen levels and anesthesia, a breathing tube, and antiseptic solution will be used to clean the area to be operated on and you will be covered with a sterile drape, leaving the surgical area clear.
- Once the results are in from your pathology report, your doctor will review them with you and discuss what next steps should be taken, if any, including chemotherapy and radiation.
- It may take up to 7 days to get the results of the pathology report from your lumpectomy or mastectomy. This will be a difficult time. Discuss with your doctor how you’ll get the information, by phone or future office visit?
Get More Information
Have questions about breast cancer? Please stop by or call the following Wise Health Imaging Center in Decatur:
Wise Health Imaging
2000 S. Ben Merritt Dr.
Decatur, TX 76234