Breast Cancer Surgery


Breast - Conservation Surgery

Breast-conserving surgery (BCS), also known as a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy) is an operation to remove the cancer while leaving as much of the breast intact as possible. This is often an option for a woman with early-stage cancer. The goal is to remove the cancer as well as some surrounding normal tissue. How much of the breast is removed depends on the size and location of the tumor and other factors.

Most women will need radiation therapy or receive hormone therapy after surgery to help lower the risk of the cancer coming back. Some women might also need chemotherapy after surgery. If so, radiation therapy is usually delayed until the chemotherapy is completed. Studies show that choosing breast conservation surgery and radiation over mastectomy does not affect a woman’s chances of long-term survival. Not all women with breast cancer are candidates for breast-conservation surgery, speak with our MedStar Health Cancer Network team to help determine if it is the best option for you.

Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

The lymphatic system includes the nodes, tissues, and organs that produce and store infection-fighting white blood cells, as well as lymph, the fluid that circulates throughout this system. In a properly functioning lymphatic system, your lymph nodes filter out the lymph, eliminating bacteria and other waste products—including cancer cells.

If cancer cells begin to travel through the lymphatic system, they can end up in the lymph nodes; in cancers that begin in the breast, the closest lymph nodes are in the armpit area—the axillary lymph nodes. If your doctor determines that your breast cancer has spread to these nodes, you will need an axillary dissection.

Most often, your surgeon will remove the Level I and II lymph nodes during this procedure. Generally, 45 lymph nodes are in the axillary and on average, 10-20 are removed during the operation.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Sentinel lymph node biopsy is surgery to identify, remove, and microscopically examine the lymph nodes directly in the pathway of spreading cancer cells— to assess whether breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes under your arm, which are the most likely lymph nodes to contain cancer. Read more.

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Location Information

MedStar Franklin Square Cancer Center at Loch Raven Campus
(Located on the campus of MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital)
5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Russell Morgan Building, Suite 103
Baltimore, MD 21239

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Breast Cancer Specialists