Invasive ductal carcinoma surgery may be performed to remove a cancerous breast tumor, and also to find out if breast cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. There are several surgical techniques that can be used to accomplish this, and a physician can determine the best approach for a patient based on the stage, location and extent of the cancer and other individual factors. While surgery is typically the first treatment recommended for invasive ductal carcinoma, chemotherapy or radiation treatment may be given beforehand to shrink large tumors, or afterward to destroy any residual cells.
When planning for breast cancer surgery, a surgeon may discuss the need to remove one or more nearby lymph nodes to determine whether cancerous cells have migrated there. This is important because if they have, there is a greater likelihood that the cancer will spread to other areas of the body. That’s because in order to perform its role as the body’s “filtration system” for bacteria, the lymphatic system consists of a series of pathways that run throughout the body. Knowing whether or not the lymph nodes have been invaded by breast cancer is an important factor to consider when deciding on a course of treatment.
Some common invasive ductal carcinoma surgery procedures include:
- Lumpectomy – A surgeon conserves as much breast tissue as possible by removing only a tumor or mass along with a small amount of the healthy tissue that surrounds it. Some lymph nodes may also be removed from the underarm area (axillary node dissection) for further evaluation.
- Partial mastectomy – A surgeon removes up to one quarter of the tissue of a breast containing a tumor, and possibly some nearby lymph nodes.
- Total mastectomy – A surgeon removes all of the tissue of a breast containing a tumor, and possibly some nearby lymph nodes.
- Modified radical mastectomy – A surgeon removes all of the tissue of a breast containing a tumor, most or all of the lymph nodes in the adjacent underarm area and the lining over the chest wall muscle.
A patient also may elect to undergo breast reconstruction during or after breast cancer surgery. This type of procedure is performed to rebuild the shape of a breast with implants or autologous tissue transfers.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, the fellowship-trained surgeons in our Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program have helped thousands of patients fight breast cancer by performing innovative surgical techniques and state-of-the-art procedures. Moffitt has earned an outstanding reputation as a leader in complex cancer surgery, and our surgeons have extensive experience and highly refined expertise.