Breast cancer generally begins in lobules or ducts, but can sometimes occur in the fatty and fibrous breast tissue. If it is left untreated, it may invade nearby healthy breast tissue and spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla) and then onto other parts of the body such as the bones, brain, lungs and liver. Surgery involves removal of a tumour along with an area of the surrounding normal breast tissue to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
Dr Girardi is a very experienced oncoplastic breast cancer surgeon in Sydney who uses the latest therapeutic and diagnostic techniques for the treatment of this disease. He is also skilled in implant-based single-stage and two-stage breast reconstruction for patients who may need to undergo mastectomy (removal of the whole breast).
A breast cancer specialist, Dr Girardi performs the following surgical procedures:
This involves the removal of the tumour along with a small margin of surrounding breast tissue leaving majority of the breast intact. This procedure is the most common type of surgery Dr Girardi recommends for majority of patients and when combined with radiotherapy to the breast it is proven to be as safe as removal of the whole breast (mastectomy) in treating these types of cancers.
The removal of the entire breast tissue on one (unilateral mastectomy) or both sides (bilateral mastectomy). The entire breast and sometimes the lymph nodes from the axilla will be removed by making an elliptical incision starting from the inside of the breast, close to the breastbone and continuing upwards and outwards toward the armpit.
This procedure involves an incision under or around the nipple so that the cut or scar will be not as noticeable after healing and sparing the nipple and areolar. There is a very small <1% increase risk of recurrence when this technique is used instead of traditional mastectomy and is generally the method Dr Girardi recommends for low risk patients or prophylactic patients.
This procedure is for patients who are genetically predisposed and have a high risk of developing this type of cancer or in patients having surgery for cancer on one breast and who wish to have both breasts removed. In this case, a simple mastectomy or nipple sparing mastectomy can be performed
Part of the treatment involves checking to see whether the cancer has demonstrated spread to the rest of the body. The cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body by blood or lymphatic vessels, and in this scenario cells do so mostly via the lymphatic channels via lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla).
Often the first way of determining spread of cancer is by checking the lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla). At the time of having surgery, the patient may have one (sentinel) node or complete removal of all the lymph nodes on the same side as the cancer as an important step in terms of treatment.
As a specialist breast cancer surgeon, Dr Girardi is skilfully trained in removing just one “sentinel” lymph node (sentinel-node biopsy) to determine if there is any need to remove the remaining lymph nodes in the armpit. This special technique can potentially preserve the other important lymph nodes draining the arm, which may not be involved by the cancer, and therefore preventing an uncommon but serious post-operative problem called lymphoedema (dramatic and painful swelling of the entire arm as a result of removing all the lymph nodes in the armpit).
Potential risks or complications associated with this type of surgery include;
If you have been searching for a specialist breast cancer clinic in Sydney, contact Dr Girardi’s receptionists today in order to book a consultation in either Sydney or Tamworth.