8.Breast Reconstruction If you need a mastectomy, you have a choice about whether or not to have surgery to rebuild the shape of the breast. Instead of breast reconstruction, you could choose to wear a breast form that replaces the breast, wear padding inside your bra, or do nothing. All of these options have pros and cons. What is right for one woman may not be right for another.Breast reconstruction may be done at the same time as the mastectomy, or it may be done later on. If radiation therapy is part of the treatment plan, your doctor may suggest waiting until after radiation therapy.If you’re thinking about breast reconstruction, talk to a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on.A surgeon can reconstruct the breast in many ways. Some women choose to have breast implants, which are filled with saline or silicone gel. Another method uses tissue taken from another part of your body. The plastic surgeon can take skin, muscle, and fat from your lower abdomen, back, or buttocks.The type of reconstruction that is best for you depends on your age, body type, and the type of cancer surgery that you had. A plastic surgeon can help you decide. 9. Breastfeeding Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It may also help your health. Certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies.Women who don’t have health problems should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months of life. There are some cases when it’s better not to breastfeed. If you have HIV or active tuberculosis, you should not breastfeed because you could give the infection to your baby. Certain medicines, illegal drugs, and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to your baby. If you are having problems with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant. 10. Mammography A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. It can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It can also be used if you have a lump or other sign of breast cancer.Screening mammography is the type of mammogram that checks you when you have no symptoms. It can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 70. But it can also have drawbacks. Mammograms can sometimes find something that looks abnormal but isn’t cancer. This leads to further testing and can cause you anxiety. Sometimes mammograms can miss cancer when it is there. It also exposes you to radiation. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 or older have screening mammograms every 1 to 2 years. Mammograms are also recommended for younger women who have symptoms of breast cancer or who have a high risk of the disease. When you have a mammogram, you stand in front of an x-ray machine. The person who takes the x-rays places your breast between two plastic plates. The plates press your breast and make it flat. This may be uncomfortable, but it helps get a clear picture. You should get a written report of your mammogram results within 30 days. 11. Mastectomy A mastectomy is surgery to remove a breast or part of a breast. It is usually done to treat breast cancer. Types of breast surgery include
- Total (simple) mastectomy – removal of breast tissue and nipple
- Modified radical mastectomy – removal of the breast, most of the lymph nodes under the arm, and often the lining over the chest muscles
- Lumpectomy – surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it
Which surgery you have depends on the stage of cancer, size of the tumor, size of the breast, and whether the lymph nodes are involved. Many women have breast reconstruction to rebuild the breast after a mastectomy.Sometimes mastectomy is done to prevent breast cancer. Only high-risk patients have this type of surgery. 12. Breast Discharge (Nipple Discharge) Breast discharge is the spontaneous flow of fluid from the nipple at any time other than during nursing. Breast discharge can be caused by a wide range of disorders, including breast cancer, breast ectasia, and breast infection. Sometimes it’s possible to feel breast cancer as a breast lump. The breast lump may or may not be painful or tender. Breast duct malformation (duct ectasia) can lead to breast discharge. Mastitis is the medical term for a breast infection, and mastodynia is the medical term for breast pain. Another name for the nipple is areola. A physician should evaluate persisting breast discharge (nipple discharge). 13. Breast Lumps, and Fever Breast lumps are localized swellings, knots, bumps, bulges or protuberances in the breast. Breast lumps may appear in both sexes at all ages. In women, the fear is usually of breast cancer but many breast lumps turn out, fortunately, to be due to benign conditions that can be successfully treated such as infection, trauma, fibroadenoma, cyst, or fibrocystic disease of the breast. However, no breast lump should be be dismissed as benign until it has been evaluated by a physician.