Today, some women with large breasts can experience breast reduction during surgery for breast cancer. The procedure offers a woman comfort knowing the cancer has been removed as well as confidence in her appearance.
McLeod Breast Surgeon Amy Murrell, MD, also clarifies when women should start having their annual mammograms.
Here are highlights of Dr. Murrell’s comments:
There are a lot of different organizations and societies over the last couple of years that have come out with different guidelines for screening women for breast cancer.
My personal feeling is that women should still begin annual mammography at age 40 and have one every year thereafter. I also think a woman should be examined by her primary care doctor or OBGYN once a year, starting at least by age 40.
If a woman has a family member who’s had breast cancer — a first degree relative, which would include a mom or a sister — I would recommend they start screening 10 years earlier than when that person was diagnosed.
Breast Cancer and Breast Reduction
There are some women who are candidates for Bilateral Therapeutic Reduction Mammoplasty. This procedure is for large breasted women who are having a lumpectomy to remove their cancer. During the operation, we perform a breast reduction and a lift at the same time as removing the cancer.
We use the same incisions as a reduction to remove the breast cancer. The plastic surgeon and breast surgeon work together throughout the operation to ensure a successful cancer operation, as well as a good plastic surgery outcome. The two surgeons are present for the entire case, making sure that everything is perfect and both breasts match. After the surgery, the woman wakes up looking as if she just had a reduction and a lift, not a breast cancer operation.
This is a more complex operation than a lumpectomy but the cosmetic outcome is excellent. Patients usually spend one night in the hospital recovering as opposed to a lumpectomy, which is normally an outpatient surgery.
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