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The aim of breast cancer surgery is to remove the cancer from the breast. It is usually the mainstay of treatment and essentially involves removing the cancer with a rim of normal breast tissue around the cancer.
This can be done by either performing breast conservation surgery (also called a wide local excision or a lumpectomy) where a portion (or lump) of breast tissue is removed. Alternatively, it may be necessary to remove the whole breast (called a mastectomy).
Traditionally, breast cancer was removed from the breast without any attention given to the aesthetic impact on the breast. As breast cancer treatment is now much more successful, and as society has changed, maintaining a breast shape has become much more important. This has led to the development of oncoplastic surgery, where equal attention is given to the aesthetic outcome. At the Thames Breast Clinic, the vast majority of our patients undergo an oncoplastic procedure at the time of their breast cancer surgery. The increased use of oncoplastic surgery has also allowed patients who would previously have undergone a mastectomy the option of breast conservation (lumpectomy).
Sometimes, it is not possible to keep the breast due to the size or extent of the breast cancer. In these cases, a mastectomy (removal of the whole breast) is recommended. When this is necessary, it is usually possible to perform an immediate breast reconstruction. At the Thames Breast Clinic, we have one of the highest levels nationally of immediate breast reconstruction, with 50% of our patients opting for this. There are several different types of breast reconstruction available. Our Consultant Onco Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon will discuss each of these with you to help you decide which is right for you. Some patients chose to undergo breast reconstruction once they have completed their cancer treatment (called delayed breast reconstruction).