LiveSmart: Advanced Breast Cancer Surgery Yields Better Treatment, Opportunity for Conservation

[This piece was written by Gabriel Kaufman, MD, FACS, and Sarah Pesek, MD, FACS, with St. Peter’s Breast Surgery, a member of St. Peter’s Health Partners Medical Associates.]

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In some ways, the month is a celebration of the many advances made toward diagnosing and treating breast cancer at its very earliest stages. With these earlier identifications come the expectations for more favorable treatment and survival outcomes.

Where many cases of breast cancer in the past would not have been considered for breast conservation surgery, new technologies and advanced techniques have revolutionized breast cancer care. Oncoplastic surgery combines plastic surgery with surgical oncology practices, offering cancer treatment that also conserves breast tissue.

By using oncoplastic surgical techniques, surgeons are able to achieve better aesthetic and quality of life outcomes for patients, compared to traditional surgical approaches. In patients with locally advanced disease, obvious deformity can be avoided while still safely removing the cancerous tissue.

Oncoplastic surgery involves using the patient’s own breast tissue to perform reconstruction to close the defect caused by removing the breast cancer. In this procedure, the breast tissue is moved into the defect, lifting the breast up. The technique allows the nipple and areola to be inset at a more natural location on the chest, achieving ideal measurements of the breast.

Following the completion of primary cancer surgery, a mastopexy (surgery to modify the size, contour, and elevation of the breast) is performed on the non-affected breast to achieve symmetry.

The benefits of breast conservation over mastectomy are many including:

  • Maintain breast sensation/minimize numbness in the chest wall
  • Improved body image
  • An enhanced overall sense of wellbeing
  • A quicker return to a healthy, active lifestyle
  • No difference in cancer outcomes between lumpectomy and mastectomy

Overall, the oncoplastic procedures are beneficial for patients that want to preserve their breast while obtaining a good aesthetic result as part of their cancer treatment.

St. Peter’s Breast Surgery is committed to offering a full range of services for women when it comes to their breast health. Our physicians offer treatment plans for women with breast cancer, benign breast concerns, and those at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Our breast surgery office manages patients who are at high risk for developing breast cancer due to either family history or biopsy findings. Our focus and goal is to provide a comprehensive approach to our patients that includes advanced options for breast conservation, as well as state-of-the art reconstruction after mastectomy.

Working together with our St. Peter’s Health Partners colleagues in radiology, medical oncology, radiation oncology and physical therapy, the St. Peter’s Breast Surgery team – the only oncoplastic surgery team in the Capital Region – provides patients with the benefit of a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure the best outcomes.

For information on St. Peter’s Breast Surgery, located on the St. Peter’s Hospital campus at 317 South Manning Boulevard, Suite C364, in Albany, please call 518-641-6936.

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