Breast cancer is one of the most impactful and common types of cancer in women. However, recent years have seen an increase in successful breast cancer interventions due to timely diagnosis and treatment. Breast cancer is more likely to be treated successfully when it is detected early, with regular mammograms providing an accurate overview of breast health and function.
If abnormalities are discovered during a mammogram or clinical breast exam, further tests may be ordered, including imaging, MRI, or biopsy. If cancer is found, your breast cancer oncologist will usually recommend surgical intervention to remove the tumour.
Choosing the right surgeon
Many doctors are qualified to perform breast surgery, although they do not necessarily have specialist training in the field. In order to achieve the best results, it’s highly recommended to choose a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in breast surgery.
- Area of expertise in breast cancer – These surgeons demonstrate a commitment to treat breast cancer, and have achieved high levels of specific training. They are familiar with the latest developments, techniques and technology.
- Highly experienced breast surgeon – Experience leads to understanding of the subtle differences in each case, assisting in formulating appropriate surgical plans that can ultimately save lives.
- Is recognised among peers as a skilled surgeon
- Has successfully completed a breast surgery fellowship
Dr Ellis Choy possesses all the above attributes and qualifications, coupled with a genuinely caring and compassionate approach. Dr Choy has double specialist surgical fellowships from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) in both general surgery (with a focus in breast and skin oncology) as well as plastic and reconstructive surgery (with a focus on face, breast and body works).
Dr Choy also completed sub speciality training by attaining fellowships in breast surgery at the Sydney Breast Cancer Institute, and surgical oncology at the Melanoma Institute Australia.
Breast Oncological Surgery options
The majority of women with breast cancer will be requested to have surgery at some point. The degree of surgery required is dependent on the type and extent of the cancer, plus the response from the tumour to radiation therapy or other treatments. Reasons for surgical intervention:
- Removal of the cancer (mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery)
- Determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
- Repair and restoration of the breast (breast reconstruction) after the cancer is removed
- Assisting with relief for advanced cancer patients
A brief overview of some breast
All the breast tissue is removed in a mastectomy. This includes the nipple and areola. If the lump is large in relation to the size of your breast, a mastectomy is often preferable to breast conservation surgery. This can also be the course of action where there are multiple tumours, or simply out of the patient’s desire for peace of mind.
Partial Mastectomy or Lumpectomy
Also known as breast conservation surgery, a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy involves removing the cancerous lump along with surrounding tissue. This option will be determined by the size of the lump, your breast size and your preference. Radiotherapy usually follows a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy.
Sentinel Node Biopsy
This procedure involves receiving an injection that assists in identifying potential spread of cancer into the lymph nodes. Suspect lymph nodes are then removed for testing as part of the operation. A consultation with your surgeon will determine if this procedure is suitable for you.
Axillary Node Clearance
This operation removes more lymph nodes than a sentinel node biopsy. It can be suitable in situations where the breast cancer is larger, or where there is evidence of cancer spreading to your sentinel lymph nodes.
Recovery from breast cancer
Dr Choy has spent many years providing breast related surgery for cancer patients and his goal is to always provide the silver lining on what is a dark cloud. For detailed information about these procedures, including the risks and anticipated recovery, please request a consultation with Dr Choy. You may submit an enquiry here or call us on on 02 5507 1231 to book.
*The information about breast oncological was reviewed by Dr. Ellis Choy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.
Making an Informed Decision
Undergoing plastic surgery is a significant decision that should be made only after careful consideration of all aspects involved, including the potential risks and complications.
General Risks and Complications
There are general risks and complications that apply to most plastic surgery procedures. These are discussed in detail on our Risks and Complications page.
Specific Risks and Complications
In addition to those that apply generally to plastic surgery, each individual procedure comes with its own specific risks and complications. For breast cancer operations, these may include:
- Complications from radiation or chemotherapy
- Restricted arm or shoulder movement
- Phantom breast pain
- Necrosis (tissue death)
- Nerve damage
- Changes in sensation and/or breast appearance
Request a consultation with Dr Choy for a detailed discussion of these considerations. Dr Choy will conduct a thorough risk assessment based on your individual factors and outline the measures that can be taken to minimise these risks. He and his team are here to support your decision-making process, providing all the information you need to make well-informed choices about your care.