Advances In surgery improve mastectomy outcomes

Radical surgery not always necessary

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – As a mother to two young children, Catalina Florez-Gandia didn't want to take any chances when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37.

"I was in the panic mode, I was, like, 'I need surgery now, you must take everything,'" she said.

Dr. Erica Bloomquist, a breast surgical oncologist at The Memorial Breast Cancer Center said it's a typical reaction for many women but research shows that double mastectomy does not improve survival in woman who have cancer in just one breast.

"When we counsel women about mastectomy, for example, maybe they need one on one side but they say, 'Just take the other one off, too.' We counsel them that reduces the risk by 95% but it’s not zero because there’s always a possibility that there are breast cells that are outside of that area that are still at risk," Bloomquist said.

And the doctor said the process of reconstruction after mastectomy is not the same as cosmetic breast augmentation.

"When you go for augmentation, you still have all of your own tissue on top so the implant kind of goes behind and pushes everything forward so you maintain a nice contour and everything looks beautiful. With mastectomy, we can still make you look pretty good but you now have skin and fat draping over an implant so you will get some rippling," Bloomquist said.

Still, she said the results of breast cancer reconstruction surgery have improved dramatically over the years.

"We have gone from the radical mastectomy, which was incredibly disfiguring, to now, where we are doing nipple sparing mastectomies and for some women, you don’t even know they had surgery," she said.

Following surgery to remove the cancer, Florez-Gandia underwent reconstruction and is back to enjoying an active life.

"There's so much technology these days and doctors are doing an amazing job," she said.

To schedule a mammogram through Memorial Healthcare, call 954-276-5595 or click here

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