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2807 What is the difference between a Wide Local Excision and a Mastectomy?

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Following your attendance at a Triple Assessment Clinic, you will be aware that you have a form of breast cancer and that early action is needed to treat you and help you to recover. Following your diagnosis, you will meet with your surgeon to decide on the most appropriate surgical approach to managing your breast cancer. There are two main procedures and generally, the decision is dependent upon the size of the lump you have in relation to the size of your breast. Where possible, we will carry out what is called a “wide local excision”. Alternatively, we may have to remove the whole breast which is called a “mastectomy”. A wide local excision is where the breast cancer is removed from the breast with a margin of healthy breast tissue that surrounds the lump. This is sometimes called a lumpectomy or breast conserving surgery. Removing this margin of healthy tissue is important to ensure all the cancer has been taken away. If this is not achieved at the first operation, a second operation may be needed. You will also need to have radiotherapy after a wide local excision to ensure any remaining cancer cells are treated. Some women need to have a mastectomy. This is the most suitable treatment if you have a large lump, particularly in a small breast; a lump in the middle of your breast; or more than one area of cancer in your breast. A mastectomy removes the breast tissue, including the skin and the nipple, and the tissues that cover the chest muscles. The scar from the operation extends across the skin of the chest and into the armpit. If you are having a mastectomy, you may want to consider breast reconstruction and your surgeon will discuss your options with you. Breast reconstruction means that the surgeon creates a new breast shape for you. You can have it done at the same time as your mastectomy, but it can also be done months or years after your original operation. If we think there is a risk of the cancer coming back in the area of the scar, we may offer you radiotherapy after a mastectomy. We are very conscious that having a diagnosis of breast cancer is shocking and that there is a lot to think about. Your surgeon and your breast care team will be pleased to guide you through all these elements and answer any questions that you have. So please identify the issues you want to understand or clarify, and the questions you would like answered. Please do not worry about asking for something to be explained again; we appreciate that there is a lot of information to absorb and want to make sure you know what is happening.

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Duration: 3 minutes and 6 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: richardwh on Nov 16, 2015

2807 What is the difference between a Wide Local Excision and a Mastectomy?

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