Benefits of Breast Conservation Therapy
A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, but with advancements in medical treatments, there are now more options available than ever before. One such option, Breast Conservation Therapy (BCT), offers hope to patients by preserving the breast while effectively treating cancer.
Breast Conservation Therapy, also known as lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, involves surgically removing the tumor along with a surrounding margin of healthy tissue. This approach aims to preserve as much of the breast tissue as possible, often followed by radiation therapy to target any remaining cancer cells. The breast cancer cure rate with this surgery is equal to that of a mastectomy, or removal of the entire breast. Therefore, bigger is not always better when it comes to breast surgery.
Advantages of Breast Conservation Therapy
Breast Preservation: One of the most significant benefits of BCT is the preservation of your breast. This means you will have the contour of the natural breast, the nipple, and normal sensation - all of which are altered with a mastectomy. Keeping the natural breast can have positive emotional and psychological impacts on self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life.
Cosmetic Outcomes: BCT strives to maintain the natural appearance of your breast. While there might be some changes post-surgery, the outcome is often more cosmetically appealing than a full mastectomy. If this is not feasible with lumpectomy, mastectomy may be the preferred surgical option. You should discuss these details with your surgeon on an individual basis.
Less Invasive: BCT is a less invasive procedure compared to a full mastectomy, which usually involves the removal of the entire breast. This means a shorter recovery time and potentially fewer post-operative complications. Many times, lumpectomy is an outpatient surgery, and you go home the same day.
Minimal Impact on Daily Life: BCT allows patients to resume their daily activities sooner than after a full mastectomy. Recovery time is generally shorter, enabling you to get back to your routines more quickly.
Lower Risk of Lymphedema: Lymphedema, heaviness or swelling of the arm and hand, is less likely with BCT compared to mastectomy and lymph node dissection.
Effective Treatment: Studies have shown that BCT combined with radiation therapy is just as effective as a mastectomy in treating early-stage breast cancer. Even after mastectomy, there is a chance that breast cancer can return, usually in the skin covering the breast area. With lumpectomy the chance of cure and cancer recurrence is just as low as with mastectomy. This means you can receive the same level of treatment while preserving your breast.
Patient Candidacy and Considerations
Not all patients are suitable candidates for BCT. Factors like tumor size, tumor location, breast size, genetic predisposition, and patient preferences play a role in determining the most appropriate treatment plan. Your healthcare team will guide you in making the right choice for your unique situation.
The Power of Informed Decision-Making
When faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, informed decision-making is paramount. Engage in open conversations with your healthcare provider about BCT and how it aligns with your goals and preferences. You can request a visit with your surgeon, radiation oncologist and medical oncologist prior to any treatment to have an outline of treatment recommendations prior to any therapy, to help you have all the information needed to make a good decision. Understanding the benefits, potential risks, and post-treatment expectations will empower you to choose the best path for your journey toward recovery.
Breast Conservation Therapy offers a beacon of hope to breast cancer patients, providing an effective treatment approach while preserving your breast and quality of life. Embrace the possibilities that BCT offers and move forward with confidence, strength, and the knowledge that you're taking charge of your health and well-being.
To learn more contact our care team today at 256.319.5400.