Preserving hope: the advantages of breast conservation surgery in breast cancer
Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience, leaving individuals with multiple options regarding their treatment journey. Among the choices, one of the most significant is to decide between breast conservation surgery and mastectomy. While both options have their merits, breast conservation surgery, also known as lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, offers numerous benefits that can positively impact a patient's physical and emotional well-being.
Understanding Breast Conservation Surgery
Breast conservation surgery involves the removal of the tumour while preserving most of the breast tissue. This process follows radiation therapy to eliminate any remaining cancer cells and minimize the risk of recurrence. Mastectomy, on the other hand, involves the complete removal of the breast tissue. While both approaches aim to eradicate cancer, breast conservation surgery has several advantages over mastectomy that can make it a preferred choice for many patients.
Breast conservation surgery over mastectomy
1.It preserves body image and self-esteem:
For many individuals, their breasts are not just a physical aspect but an essential part of their identity and femininity. Breast conservation surgery has the potential to preserve body image and self-esteem. Studies have shown that women who undergo breast conservation surgery experience better body image and self-esteem than those who opt for mastectomy. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2014 found that women who had breast conservation surgery reported higher levels of satisfaction with their breast's appearance and greater psycho-social well-being.
2.It maintains sensation and functionality
In contrast to mastectomy, which involves complete removal of the breast tissue, Breast conservation surgery aims to preserve as much of the natural breast tissue as possible. It helps in maintaining sensation and functionality in the breast. A study published in the Journal of Surgical Oncology in 2016 highlighted that patients who underwent breast conservation surgery were more likely to retain their pre-surgery levels of sensation and overall breast function.
3.It reduces recovery time and other complications
Breast conservation surgery typically results in a shorter recovery and fewer post-operative complications. Mastectomy, however, involves a more extensive surgical procedure, which can lead to increased pain, longer hospital stays, and a more extended recovery period. Research published in JAMA Surgery in 2015 demonstrated that patients who underwent breast conservation surgery experienced fewer wound-related complications and had shorter hospital stays than those who underwent mastectomy.
4.It shows no difference in survival rates
Contrary to common misconceptions, studies have shown that breast conservation surgery does not compromise survival rates. The long-term survival outcomes for both approaches are similar, provided that the cancer is detected at an early stage and appropriate adjuvant therapies, such as radiation, are given. A comprehensive meta-analysis published in The Lancet in 2014 concluded that there was no significant difference in survival rates between breast conservation surgery and mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer patients.
5.It could be better for emotional and psychological well-being
The emotional and psychological well-being of breast cancer survivors is of paramount importance. Breast conservation surgery can alleviate some emotional distress associated with losing a breast. The way it preserves physical appearance and sensations can contribute to a more positive emotional adjustment to life after treatment. A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology in 2018 found that patients who underwent breast conservation surgery reported better emotional well-being and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to those who chose mastectomy.
In conclusion, breast conservation surgery offers many advantages, which can enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients. From preserving body image and sensation to shorter recovery times and comparable survival rates, this approach provides a holistic approach to cancer treatment. As always, patients should engage in a thorough discussion with their medical team to determine the best course of action for their circumstances. With advances in medical techniques and a growing emphasis on patient-centred care, breast conservation surgery stands as a beacon of hope for those on their journey to overcome breast cancer while preserving their well-being.