Surgery is the first choice in early stage breast cancers. The location of the tumor, its size, the risk of recurrence and the patient’s wishes are important in the selection of surgery.
In the past, removal of the entire breast and all axillary lymph nodes was the only option. Today, with breast-conserving surgery, instead of the entire breast, only the tumor tissue is removed along with the surrounding normal breast tissue in appropriate cases. This is called lumpectomy (extended mass excision = quadrantectomy).
It is generally applied in tumors with suitable tumor/breast ratio and in patients who can receive radiotherapy after surgery.
Mastectomy is a method used when breast-conserving surgery is not suitable. If breast cancer has a hereditary character in some of the patients with a family history of breast cancer in close relatives, and patients with BRCA mutations, mastectomy can be performed on the disease-free breast for risk-reducing and protection purposes.
BREAST REPAIR (BREAST RECONSTRUCTION): Surgery to replace the organ lost due to disease. Thanks to new developments in medicine, surgeons can now create a breast from the patient’s own tissue or from a prosthesis, which is very similar to the natural breast. The treatment team also includes plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists.
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the armpit lymph nodes. In recent years, the “Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Technique” has been developed, which is the method of removing the lymph nodes that are most likely to have only tumor cells.
In this technique, radioactive material and/or blue dye is injected into the breast where the tumor is located before the surgery. Before the operation, the possible sentinel node location is seen with lymphoscintigraphy.
During the operation, the radioactive material detector called gamma probe is removed with the help of an instrument and/or by following the blue-painted channels, and/or the blue-dyed lymph node or glands (sentinel lymph node) are removed and sent to pathology to be examined during the operation.
If sentinel lymph node involvement is positive, all lymph nodes in the axilla are removed. If it is found negative, it is left in this way and the lymph nodes that are thought to be clean are not removed. In this way, side effects such as lymphedema, limitation of shoulder movements or numbness in the arm are much less common in patients who have only sentinel lymph node biopsy.