Surgery for breast conditions can be necessary for a wide variety of reasons. Many benign conditions of the breast do not require surgery, and symptoms can be improved considerably with medication or lifestyle changes.
Breast surgery can be commonly indicated for:
Benign breast lumps
Prior to consideration of any surgery, Mr MacLeod will undertake an appropriate history, clinical examination and use of investigations help to me diagnose the problem. From here, he will begin to formulate a management plan, which may or may not involve a surgical procedure.
Common investigations used to obtain further information regarding breast pathology include mammograms (x-ray of the breast), ultrasound and tissue biopsies. Tissue biopsies come in the form of either Fine Needle Aspiriate (FNA) for lesions which contain fluid, or Core Biopsy for solid lesions. The safest approach to the accurate diagnosis of a breast condition is to use a combination of clinical examination, imaging and also tissue biopsy. If any of these three components is missing, the accuracy of any diagnosis can be reduced.
Breast cancer is a common reason to be referred to a surgeon. Sometimes breast cancers are diagnosed after symptoms are experienced, such as a lump in the breast or nipple discharge. Alternatively, women may be recalled after a screening mammogram as part of the government Breast Screen program after their mammogram has shown an area of suspicion. Often these suspicious areas can undergo a biopsy which shows no sign of cancer, but occasionally an early cancer is confirmed and needs further treatment.
Regardless of the circumstances, any diagnosis of breast cancer can be extremely stressful - not only for the patient but also for their family members. One thing contributing to this stress is a level of uncertainty about the road ahead. This increased level of stress is something Mr MacLeod is acutely aware of for his patients.
Once our rooms have received a referral for a patient with a newly diagnosed breast cancer, we will endeavour to make you an early appointment to go through things in detail. During this appointment we will discuss the events leading up to your diagnosis, your own medical history, clinical examination and review the investigations you’ve had performed. At this stage we can go through the wide variety of treatment options available, and you and your family will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding treatment options and alternatives. Your particular case will be discussed at a Multidisciplinary Meeting with fellow surgeons, oncologists, pathologists and radiologists.
Our support network
We are also extremely lucky to work alongside specialist Breast Care Nurses (BCN), who are based at Northeast Health Wangaratta. These nurses are invaluable with regards to the provision of information, support and guidance for any patient with a breast cancer diagnosis, and with your consent Mr MacLeod would refer you to the Breast Care Nurses early on for additional support.