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Breast Reconstruction Methods

Your breast Surgeon would have informed you of the treatment options available to you in terms of your breasts. If you have been referred to me, a surgical option involving reconstruction has been advised.

Breast cancer surgery consists of either lumpectomy, partial mastectomy or mastectomy, with in all cases some surgical attention being directed to the draining glands in the armpit (lymph nodes).

In order to obtain optimal results and to leave you with the best cosmetic result, we believe that a team approach is vital. We try to deliver a service to you that is in keeping with international standards and protocols.

I wish to present you with a brief summary of treatment options, which will be discussed with you.

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The Role of the Multi-Disciplinary Team

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women throughout the world. Internationally, it is widely accepted that breast care should be provided by breast specialists in each discipline and that multidisciplinary teams form the basis for best practice.

Although surgery plays a central role, treatment usually involves multiple specialities and needs to be individualized according to the patient and their requirements. A multidisciplinary team includes breast surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologist.

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How to prepare for your first visit with a surgeon

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer face many challenges and often fear radical surgery and the potential loss of the breast. Many will want to rush in to treatment. It is important to emphasize here that the treatment of breast cancer is urgent but not an emergency.

For the treating surgeon it is equally important to gather all the relevant information. A full assessment by examination and history, and appropriate imaging and biopsy tests, must be completed before initiating any treatment. All patients should be discussed in a multidisciplinary team to individualize care and establish a full treatment plan.

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Breast Surgery

Breast cancer surgery has drastically changed over the past few decades and has become one of the most rapidly evolving and fascinating subspecialties in surgery. The majority of patients will require surgery at some point of their breast cancer treatment. Traditionally, all patients with breast cancer had a mastectomy and removal of the lymph nodes under the arm.

Fortunately, there are many more options available today and the international trend is to minimizie the extent of surgery for the breast and under the arm and to reduce the risks and negative effects of surgery without compromising safety.

The type of surgery that may be recommended depends on various factors which include the extent, location and stage of the cancer, the tumour biology (type and behaviour of the cancer) and patient preferences.

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Your First Visit with The Oncologist - Questions to ask

Being diagnosed with cancer is a traumatic event, one than can leave you reeling and confused. To get the most out of your first Oncology Visit, you need to be prepare as much as possible. If possible, bring someone with you, to support and help you make sense of everything that will be discussed.

You may have to draw up a list of your questions, as you may forget them during the consultation. The Oncologist will usually reserve time towards the end of the consultation for questions. Here are some questions you need to ask.

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Overview of radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is one of the 3 main treatment modalities available to treat cancer viz. surgery chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It makes use of x-rays or radiation beams that can be focused on cancer tissues.

These beams cause death of the cancer cells leading to shrinkage and disappearance of the cancer growth and prevent the cancer from recurring. In contrast to chemotherapy, radiation therapy is a localised treatment and does not influence any disease that may be present outside of the radiation field.

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