Breast Cancer Treatments: Mastectomy

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on 17-10-2018

0

This week is World Breast Cancer Day, and we wanted to talk to Dr Fran Fernandez, Head of the Breast Unit at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, about one of the most common treatments for breast cancer – mastectomy. 

Mastectomy 

We treat cancer in several ways, but one of the most common methods is surgery. There are two types of operation depending on the stage of the disease. If the cancer is detectedin the early stages, the usual way forward would be the conservative surgery, which consists of removing the section of the breast with a tumour in it. In the caseof more advanced stages, the method we use is a mastectomy, which is the surgical act of completely removing a breast.

According to the protocols of preventive diagnosis of breast cancer, the percentage of mastectomy procedures is decreasing thanks to early detection through breast self-examination and radiological tests, depending on patient’s age, past medical and family history. Also, mastectomy can be avoided in those cases when we indicate chemotherapy treatments before the surgery. Experts recommend exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet to reduce risk factors, for a healthy body is more difficult to get sick.

Treatment 

The duration of breast cancer treatment can vary depending on the diagnosisand can range from simple surgery without further treatment, or those cases when the procedure can be prolongedfor up to 5 years. A good family environment is also necessary for a patient’s recovery. It is vital that the patient isadequately informedof the circumstances of their case and the options available. Some patients require the help of a psychologist and support groups, which can also play a vital role throughout the treatment. Besides, the patient can and should perform a physical exerciseto return to normal.

Risks 

Body imageis a critical psychosocial issue for post-mastectomy patients as they often undergosignificant changesto appearance and functioning. Changes in body image not rarely affect patient’s both intimate and social relationships. Other alterations that may occur are of sexual nature, chronic pain, lymphoedema or psychological sequelae,among others. We are fully aware of the impact post-mastectomy alterations may have on a patient, and we always advise our patients to be psychologically predisposed to overcome obstacles.

Fortunately, major, lethal complications are becoming less frequent. The current survival rate for breast cancer is nearly 85%, but we must continue to insist on early detection and new clinical trials toreduce the remaining 15%.

Comment