breast cancer surgery

Breast Cancer Surgery

At the MedStar Union Memorial Breast Center, our breast cancer surgery patients have long benefited from our multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care. We offer a full array of treatment options for women facing breast cancer backed by extensive experience and a personal touch. Our breast surgeons carefully evaluate each woman’s diagnosis and, working as a team with other specialists, create a personalized treatment plan specially designed to meet her unique needs.

Nearly every breast cancer patient will have a surgical procedure as part of their course of treatment. The goal of breast cancer surgery is to remove the tumor and to evaluate the axillary lymph nodes to determine if cancer has spread.

Learn more about some of the breast cancer surgery options offered at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital Breast Center.

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 axilla 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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