Surgery for Breast Cancer
- Lumpectomy – Unlike a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast, a lumpectomy entails the removal of cancerous tissue while sparing the rest of the breast. When combined with radiation therapy following surgery, a lumpectomy may be as effective as a mastectomy if performed by experienced, highly skilled surgeons, such as those you will find at Jefferson. Jefferson was also one of the U.S. hospitals to develop standard radiation dosages for the best therapeutic and cosmetic results following lumpectomy surgery.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy – The sentinel lymph node is believed to be the first lymph node to which breast cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. Therefore, if the sentinel node is free of cancer, it is likely there is no cancer in the other lymph nodes. This can help avoid the removal of additional lymph nodes through a full, axillary lymph node dissection.
Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
Radiation oncologists at Jefferson have developed several new cancer treatments and have helped pioneer the use of advanced radiation therapies that precisely target cancerous tumors while minimizing the effects on surrounding health tissue. Radiation therapy methods available for breast cancer include:
- Active Breathing Coordinator, a breathing technique that helps spare lung, heart and liver tissue from adverse effects of radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer in the left breast. Specifically, it is designed to help patients who may have trouble breathing hold their breath in a consistent manner while receiving radiation.
- Brachytherapy, a procedure that involves implanting tiny radioactive seeds at the site of the tumor, which, compared with external radiation therapy, allows for a higher dose of radiation to be safely administered
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), which involves the delivery of a large dose of radiation directly to a tumor exposed through surgery
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), an innovative approach to destroying inoperable primary or metastatic tumors by delivering high-frequency electrical currents into a tumor via a needle electrode, which destroys cancerous cells through heat
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which delivers radiation doses that precisely fit the 3-D shape of a tumor. It also tightly regulates the intensity of the radiation to more closely target tumors and spare surrounding tissue.
Jefferson physicians are also experienced in treating breast cancer through chemotherapy and hormone therapy, which may be used in conjunction with other treatments depending on the nature and progression of your cancer. Your medical team will help you weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment, so you can choose the option that is best for you.