Surgery options include breast conserving surgery (called BCS or lumpectomy) or removal of the breast (mastectomy). In addition, lymph nodes may be removed from under the arm to check for the presence of cancer cells. Currently, a sentinel node biopsy can identify lymph node involvement with much less of a chance of the debilitating effect of arm swelling or lymphedema which may result after having lymph nodes removed.
Breast reconstruction in conjunction with mastectomy is an option. It may involve a woman’s own tissue (flaps, as in DIEP-flap reconstruction) or a saline or silicone implant. Some women are opting for nipple sparing mastectomy or skin sparing mastectomy. Talk to your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for these procedures. Other women may have reconstruction after radiation instead.