Surgery is often an important step in treating breast cancer. It allows us to remove the cancer and assess whether it affects the lymph nodes. At Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, we strive to effectively treat breast cancer while providing a surgical outcome that leaves you feeling confident and comfortable.
Our expert breast surgeons consider your wishes and diagnosis to create a personalized surgical plan. They collaborate with a plastic surgeon when necessary and offer advanced surgical options to get you back to living your best life.
Breast Cancer Surgery: The Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Advantage
We perform breast surgery as part of a comprehensive breast cancer treatment plan. The benefits of breast cancer surgery at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health include:
- Timely treatment: After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, you’ll meet with a breast surgeon within a couple of days. We work to get you started on treatment as soon as possible.
- Surgical expertise: We have fellowship-trained breast surgeons who focus only on the breast and are certified for breast ultrasound. They skillfully preserve and reshape breast tissue, using imaging to precisely remove cancer.
- Minimally invasive techniques: Our surgeons take scarring into account when performing surgery. They hide the scar in specific areas of the breast so it’s less noticeable.
- Team approach: Our surgeons are part of a multidisciplinary breast cancer team. Our specialists work together to deliver other necessary breast cancer treatments either before or after surgery. Meet our breast cancer team.
- Expert lymphedema treatment: If you develop lymphedema (fluid build-up) after surgery, our comprehensive cancer rehabilitation services will help you find relief.
- Support before and after surgery: Our certified oncology nurse navigators coordinate your preoperative testing, answer surgical questions and offer consultation for surgery-related decisions. Following breast cancer surgery, they’ll connect you with breast cancer support services if necessary, including our Image Recovery Center which offers mastectomy-related products and resources.
- Surgery close to home: We provide all your surgical care in Lancaster. Your preoperative appointments take place at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, while breast cancer surgeries take place in Lancaster at the Suburban Outpatient Pavilion or Lancaster General Hospital. Learn more about our cancer care locations.
How We Treat Breast Cancer With Surgery
At Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, we use surgery to understand, prevent and eliminate breast cancer. Our surgeons work together with a team of specialists to create your treatment plan. Surgery may be just part of your breast cancer treatment. You may need other treatment before or after surgery.
Our surgeons tailor every breast procedure and use advanced imaging and the newest techniques to reduce scarring and recovery time. Surgeries we use to treat breast cancer include:
Breast-Conserving Surgery (Lumpectomy)
Your surgeon may recommend a lumpectomy (also called a partial mastectomy) to confirm a cancer diagnosis or as treatment for early-stage breast cancer. During a lumpectomy, the surgeon removes abnormal tissue and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. A pathologist analyzes that tissue to learn more about the cancer.
Our breast surgeons are considerate of scar placement and are specially trained in oncoplastic techniques, which reshape the breast after tissue is removed. If more complicated breast reconstruction is needed, our breast surgeons and plastic surgeons work together to provide the best cosmetic outcome possible.
During a mastectomy, the surgeon removes all of the tissue from one or both breasts. We may use mastectomy for many reasons including:
- Tumor location or size: If the tumor is large or the cancer is located in multiple areas in the breast, we may not be able to treat it with breast-conserving surgery.
- Cancer risk: Patients at a high risk for developing new or recurrent breast cancer may choose to have a mastectomy as a preventative measure.
- Personal reasons: Patients may have a personal preference for mastectomy over breast-conserving surgery.
Our surgeons perform mastectomies both with and without breast reconstruction. Whenever possible, we preserve the skin, areola and nipple to assist with reconstruction. Our nurse navigators and surgical team offer consultation to help with making that decision.
Sentinel Lymph Node Excision
During breast cancer surgery, the surgeon may perform a sentinel lymph node excision to see whether cancer has spread beyond the breast. This procedure involves the removal of a limited number of specific lymph nodes. These lymph node(s) (called sentinel lymph nodes) are where the cancer cells are most likely to spread.
Our expert plastic surgeons perform reconstruction after some breast cancer surgeries to restore the appearance of your breasts. Breast reconstruction may take place either during your breast cancer surgery (immediate) or at a later time (delayed).
Our plastic surgeons work closely with our breast surgeons to perform reconstruction with the least amount of surgery possible. Before breast cancer surgery, we’ll present reconstruction options and help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you. Learn more about breast reconstruction at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.
Request an Appointment for Breast Cancer Surgery
To make an appointment at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, call 717-544-9400 or request a callback using our online form.