JOSE ERBELLA, M.D., FACS
General, Oncologic & Minimally Invasive Surgeries
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Dr. Erbella is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons
BREAST CANCER SURGERY
Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be very scary for both the patient and their loved ones. Fortunately, there
are many treatment options available, including breast sparing surgery.
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER SURGERY?
Breast cancer surgery removes a portion of the breast or all of the visible breast tissue in order to remove cancerous cells or tumors. Current cancer stage, family history and the patient’s comfort level plays a role in determining which breast surgery is most appropriate.
There are basically two broad categories of breast cancer surgeries, a lumpectomy versus a mastectomy. A lumpectomy is usually done to preserve the overall size and shape of the breast. Our goal with a lumpectomy is to spare the breast, so we often refer to it as "breast sparing" or "breast conservation" surgery. Often, this surgery is followed by radiation treatments to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.
A mastectomy surgery is when I remove all of the visible breast tissue. It rarely is followed by radiation. With a mastectomy, my patients have a choice of whether or not to have plastic reconstruction surgery. Plastic surgery is a very personal decision and can involve several different steps which can begin at the same time as a mastectomy or at a later date. Having plastic surgery may or may not make sense, depending on a patient's goals, cancer treatments and personal situation.
I will sit down with every new patient and go over everything; all of their tests, what our options are and what we should do next. I also encourage their family or supportive friends to come to their visit because there is a lot to talk about and sometimes it helps to have some more ears there to remember details and discuss options and our plan later. I know how scary this can be and sometimes the initial shock of all of the information can make us forget later what we talked about. But rest assured, I will be there through every step, and will guide them through surgery and recovery, and help them decide on the treatment options that can follow. I feel like every one of my patients are a family member, and every breast cancer patient is like my sister or mother, so I will recommend the best possible care for them.
Illustration of basic anatomy with a cancerous tumor above the nipple and an outline of the lymph node chain in green.