Breast cancer surgery is a very important part of your treatment plan. The goal of the surgery is to remove the entire tumor, if possible, or as much as can be removed.
Some women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer will choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy, which is the preventive removal or one or both breasts. This drastically lowers your risk of contracting breast cancer. Discuss with your doctor if you are at high-risk for breast cancer, and if so, whether this procedure is right for you.
This procedure removes the tumor and a small amount of the surrounding tissue. A lumpectomy is also known as breast-conserving surgery, since your entire breast is not removed. If you choose this option, you will most likely need radiation therapy in order to destroy any remaining cancer cells and to prevent the cancer from recurring (returning).
During a mastectomy, all of the breast tissue in the affected breast is removed. Radiation therapy may follow a mastectomy as well.
Following a mastectomy, or even a lumpectomy, you may wish to undergo reconstructive surgery. A trained surgeon will reconstruct your breast using artificial implants. You can have the surgery at the same time as the surgery to remove the cancer, or you can have it months or even years later. Some women choose to wear a prosthesis instead of undergoing reconstructive surgery.