About Breast cancer

Breasts are made up of fat, glandular tissues divided into lobes, a network of milk ducts and connective tissue. When cells in any of these tissues start growing and dividing abnormally, it results in breast cancer. 


A majority of breast cancers begin in the cells lining the milk ducts. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, and most women diagnosed with this condition are over 50.


When diagnosed at an early stage, breast cancer can be cured completely. Not just women but even men can develop breast cancer. These cancers may cause many symptoms, but the earliest noticeable sign is a lump or growth in one or both breasts. Other symptoms include:

  • Change in the shape and size of one or both breasts
  • Dimpling of the skin on the breasts
  • Discharge from one or both nipples
  • A lump or swelling in the armpits


Though the cause of breast cancer is unknown, factors like increasing age, family history of breast cancer, being overweight or obese, smoking and alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing the condition.


When is Surgery Performed for Breast Cancer?

Surgery is usually the primary treatment for breast cancer. Different types of surgeries are performed for breast cancer, and the most suitable type for you depends upon the following factors:


  • The size of the tumour
  • Location of the tumour in the breast
  • Breast size
  • Your choice and opinion


Surgery for breast cancer may be recommended in the following cases:

  • To remove the tumour or as much cancer as possible (breast-conserving procedure vs mastectomy)
  • To determine if cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes (sentinel node biopsy)
  • Restore the shape of the breast after cancer removal (breast reconstruction)
  • To relieve symptoms and prolong life in people with advanced stages of breast cancer


Each type of surgery for early-stage breast cancer has pros and cons. Your doctor and healthcare team will discuss the options and their benefits.


Who is an Ideal Candidate for Breast Cancer Surgery?

Most breast cancers qualify for surgery. Your doctor and multidisciplinary healthcare team will determine the right surgery for you.


  • Breast-conserving surgery

A breast-conserving surgery is performed if the tumour is smaller than the size of your breast, is located in a suitable position in the breast, and only one breast is affected. If the nearby lymph nodes are involved, they are removed during the surgery.


  • Mastectomy (To remove the entire breast)

This type of surgical procedure is recommended in the following scenario:

  •   When the tumour is relatively larger than the breast
  •   Tumour is located in the middle of the breast
  •   There is more than one cancerous area in the breast
  •   Presence of large areas of ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS)
  •   Previous history of radiotherapy to the breast 


Doctors usually recommend breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. Some people may require radiotherapy after mastectomy to kill any remaining cancer cells and prevent the risk of cancer coming back.

While breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body, it usually spreads to the lymph nodes in the armpit as these drain lymphatic fluid from the breast. A lymph node biopsy may be performed during breast cancer surgery.

Breast Cancer Surgery Cost in the UK

The cost of breast cancer surgery in the UK increases with the severity of the condition. People with early-stage breast cancer are likely to spend less on their treatment than those with advanced stages of the disease. 


Your breast cancer treatment cost depends upon several factors like the type and stage of cancer, grade of the tumour, location and extent of spread, patient’s age and overall health. Your doctor will discuss the estimated cost of your treatment early on. Feel free to discuss any concerns or queries you have with them.


Other Treatments for Breast Cancer

Though surgery is usually the first line of treatment for breast cancer, other standard options include:

  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses strong x-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells and stop their growth. Radiotherapy is used before or after surgery and may be combined with chemotherapy.


  • Chemotherapy: This therapy uses strong anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used before surgery to shrink the tumour and facilitate easy removal or lower the risk of cancer returning after surgery. This treatment is also helpful for secondary cancers and relieves symptoms in advanced breast cancer patients.

  • Hormone therapy: Depending on the presence or absence of receptors, many breast cancers grow in response to hormones. Hormone therapy blocks and stops the growth of hormone-positive breast cancers.


  • Targeted drug therapy: This treatment may be used to shrink breast cancer before surgery or reduce the risk of its recurrence. The type of targeted drug used will depend upon the nature of your breast cancer.


Talk to Us

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your treatment plan will almost always include surgery. It is natural to feel worried and anxious about undergoing surgery. If you have any doubts or concerns about breast cancer surgery, discuss them with your doctor or healthcare team. Need a second opinion? Reach out to us today!




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