February 5, 2015
1 minute, 40 seconds read
Cancer Care / Oncology, Surgical Oncology
When 32 year old Neena, an HR consultant in an MNC, walked into doctor’s clinic, accompanied by her husband and parents, the doctor could sense an air of hopelessness surrounding this good looking young lady. The papers that were shown a needle biopsy report, which confirmed the diagnosis of breast cancer. Fortunately, for her, the size of the lump was about 2cms and there were no lymph nodes that could be felt in the armpit. There was no evidence of spread to the other organs on imaging. She had been through the discussion of surgery and thus wanted a second opinion. She had been advised a modified radical mastectomy (complete removal of the breast along with the lymph nodes in the armpit.
She was a successful career woman with everything going for her till yesterday and today she was grappling with this tough predicament- losing an organ, an integral part of her feminity to cancer- it was almost cruel. An MR mammogram was done keeping in view of her age and dense breasts. The MR mammogram showed a solitary 2cm lump in upper half of the breast with no significant lymph nodes in the armpit. With this new found information, she was suggested the breast conservation surgery with oncoplasty (surgical technique to restore shape to the breast) and sentinel lymph node biopsy (few nodes in the armpit sampled guided by radio-isotope and blue dye, sent to pathologist to check for any spread of disease). Her joy knew no bounds and she opted to go ahead with breast conservation surgery. The surgery went off well and fortunately for her, the sentinel node biopsy came back as negative for spread. She did not require all the nodes in the armpit to be removed with its attendant 20% risk of developing arm swelling. Her risk of arm swelling is probably less than 5% now. She was discharged the next day. She was complete in a sense and there was really no way to tell she had undergone surgery for breast cancer!