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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Why breast removal becomes must for some cancer patients

23rd October 2013

Breast conservation became standard practice globally since the last three decades as a result of path breaking research. Unfortunately myths and substandard practices rule the roost in our country and hence patients like Geeta, suffer the consequences of these mutilating surgeries.

Oncoplastic surgery a recent advancement not only saves lives but also ensures excellent cosmesis. Women globally prefer to have their breasts lifted, reshaped and contoured to make them look younger, aesthetic and shapely. Oncoplastic surgery that combines these principles of plastic surgery with those of cancer surgery helps women look younger, more shapely after treatment for breast cancer adding a new dimension to their quality of life.

Mastectomy or breast removal becomes absolutely mandatory in about a quarter to a third of breast cancer patients due to certain compelling reasons such as large tumors, multiple tumors in a breast etc. Various techniques of immediate breast reconstruction by either using safe breast silicone prosthesis or using borrowed muscle and skin from the back or abdomen have evolved where women can feel complete immediately after their surgery where the reconstructed breast mimics a natural breast accurately.

The silicone prosthesis available today are compact, cohesive and safe. There is no credence to the fact that use of the prosthesis can induce cancer. The incidence of rupture of the prosthesis and other complications are negligible.

Thus, Breast surgery has evolved from being simple but mutilating (Radical extirpation of the breast, muscle, skin and lymph nodes from the axilla) to advanced, complex, refined and comprehensive, aimed at providing better quality life.

Today breast saving surgery, mastectomy ( breast removal) or skin saving mastectomy both with immediate reconstruction and removal of only one node from the armpit(sentinel node) have replaced radical surgery.

These techniques ensure that women feel normal, enhanced younger and have markedly less side effects.

Breast saving treatment and breast reconstruction options address maintains the feminity, body image, sexuality and the sense of being complete, prevent depression and sense of loss in women.

They address issues related to the partners psyche and reduce marital problems. Conventional mastectomy causes physical problems as well such as shoulder stiffness, massive swelling of the arm and postural problems.

To conclude , oncoplastic breast units address the issues of breast treatment globally and provide an option of leaving or creating an intact perfect breast post treatment.

Such a comprehensive oncoplastic breast unit would eventually offer cosmetic surgery options to women seeking solutions for the ageing breast that droops or the young breast that needs to be enhanced.

For more Information: Please contact 0688928656 (English), 0657170233 (Swehali)
Dr Hamid Mustafa
Consultant Oncologist HCG (Tanzania)



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