Surgery is usually the first line of attack against breast cancer. This section explains the different types of breast cancer surgery.
Decisions about surgery depend on many factors. You and your doctor will determine the kind of surgery that’s most appropriate for you based on the stage of the cancer, the “personality” of the cancer, and what is acceptable to you in terms of your long-term peace of mind.
The following pages will help you explore your surgery options:
- In our What to Expect With Any Surgery section, you can learn the basic steps common to all breast cancer surgeries.
- If you need to choose between surgeries, Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy explains the pros and cons of each.
- Lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery, is the removal of only the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue.
- Mastectomy is the removal of all of the breast tissue. Mastectomy is more refined and less intrusive than it used to be because in most cases, the muscles under the breast are no longer removed.
- Lymph node removal, or axillary lymph node dissection, can take place during lumpectomy and mastectomy if the biopsy shows that breast cancer has spread outside the milk duct. Some people qualify for the less-invasive sentinel lymph node dissection.
- Breast reconstruction is the rebuilding of the breast after mastectomy and sometimes lumpectomy. Reconstruction can take place at the same time as cancer-removing surgery, or months to years later. Some women decide not to have reconstruction or opt for a prosthesis instead.
- Prophylactic mastectomy is preventive removal of the breast to lower the risk of breast cancer in high-risk people.
- Prophylactic ovary removal is a preventive surgery that lowers the amount of estrogen in the body, making it harder for estrogen to stimulate the development of breast cancer.
- Cryotherapy, also called cryosurgery, uses extreme cold to freeze and kill cancer cells. Right now, cryotherapy is an experimental treatment for breast cancer.
The medical experts for Surgery are:
- Thomas G. Frazier, M.D., general and breast surgeon, Thomas Jefferson University Health System, Philadelphia, PA
- Anne L. Rosenberg, M.D., breast surgeon, Thomas Jefferson University Health System, Philadelphia, PA
- Marisa Weiss, M.D., chief medical officer of Breastcancer.org; breast radiation oncologist, Lankenau Medical Center, part of Main Line Health, a five-hospital health system in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA
These experts are members of the Breastcancer.org Professional Advisory Board, including more than 70 medical experts in breast cancer-related fields.
“This is just a roadblock on your way to successful living. You sort of have to figure out how you’re going to get around or get over that roadblock. Our goal with the surgery is to try to maximize the ability of the patient to function. We want to get them back to living.”— Thomas G. Frazier, M.D.
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April 10-14 is National Cancer Registrars Week. Are you taking care of or know any patients who are battling the big C?
Despite the advanced technology and modern treatment plans, we, as nurses, should still value the proven benefits of prayers in healing our patients. We should take care of their faith and spiritual health as much as we care for their physical and mental needs.
Here are some of the most powerful healing prayers for cancer you can share.
A Healing Petition
May God heal me, body and soul. May my pain cease, may my strength increase, may my fears be released, May blessings, love, and joy surround me. Amen.
Prayer for Easing Pain
Father, with you nothing is impossible. You are God of all flesh; we love you and we are confident that no situation is too hard for you. We come to you on behalf of this dear one seeking healing from cancer. God, Jesus Christ has fully paid the price by the stripes He took; we therefore are asking that the devourer gets off from this child of yours in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.
Prayer for Healing
Father God, we humbly pray for all those who are fighting cancer. Give them the hope and courage they need each day. Comfort them in their pain and bless them with healing. Strengthen their family, friends, and caregivers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for Cancer Fighters
Heavenly Father, Give all cancer fighters comfort when they are in pain. Lay your healing hand on all and remove every cancer cell so that they may be healed! Amen
Prayer for Physicians and Nurses
Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon your blessed name and we pray for your merciful heart to surround these with love, strength, and courage and we ask Your hands to touch them with the power of healing. May they be directed to the right treatment in Your blessed name as we ask You Lord to represent the physicians, nurses, and medical care aids and administer them in Your spirits. May every cancerous cell be cast out and replaced with good ones. May every spot of this deadly cell be wiped out by Your powerful hands.
Prayer through St. Jude
God of healing mercy, in Jesus your Son you stretch out your hand in compassion, restoring the sinner, healing the sick, and lifting up those bowed down. Embrace us now in your loving care, particularly those afflicted with cancer, for whom this intention is offered. May the Spirit of Jesus bring us all health in soul and body, that with joy and thanksgiving we may praise you for your goodness, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
See Also: 20 Short But Effective Prayers for Surgery
Prayer through Saint Peregrine
O great St. Peregrine, you have been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker,” because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you.
For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you.
(Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)
Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy.
Prayer through Saint Agatha
Oh St. Agatha, who withstood the unwelcome advances from unwanted suitors, and suffered pain and torture for her devotion to Our Lord, we celebrate your faith, dignity, and martyrdom. Protect us against rape and other violations, guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity. Oh St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, mercifully grant that we who venerate your sacrifice, may receive your intercession. Amen.
Prayer for Strength
Lord, at the moment nothing seems to be able to help the loss I feel.
My heart is broken and my spirit mourns. All I know is that Your grace is sufficient. This day, this hour Moment by moment I choose to lean on You, For when I am at my weakest Your strength is strongest. I pour out my grief to You And praise You that on one glorious day When all suffering is extinguished and love has conquered We shall walk together again.
A Simple Prayer for Healing
Lord of Heaven,
I rest underneath your mighty wings of love.I dwell within your gentle heart.I know there is healing in your touch.Through the sufferings of Christ I can ask for restoration And trust in your goodness.You are my Lord, my Saviour, My healer and my friend.I dwell within your gentle embrace.Amen.
See Also: 35 Nurse’s Prayers That Will Inspire Your Soul
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Lysa TerKeurst, bestselling author, speaker, and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, shares that she’s now breast cancer free after undergoing surgery last week. On November 10th, Lysa had a double mastectomy after receiving the diagnosis of cancer in October. She’s now home and recovering, and so many prayers are continuing to cover her and her family through this time.
On Friday, Lysa wrote on Facebook, “Today my surgeon stood up in my follow up appointment and declared me CANCER FREE! They got it all out and nothing had spread.
I’m so thankful and relieved and deeply moved by the outpouring of prayers that have carried me through the surgery and first week of healing.
I still have a couple of surgeries to go so please keep praying. There were a few complications but hearing “no chemo or radiation needed” makes my complications pale in comparison.
And please keep praying for others still battling through tough stuff by lifting up some of the comments in my last post.
I love you all so much.”
After a battle with illness last summer, undergoing surgery that removed a large section of her colon, and then recently facing divorce with her husband of 25 years, Lysa says that it was hard to even share this recent diagnosis with so many supporters who have continued to pray for her through difficult days.
She announced the diagnosis on her blog, “I’ve sort of dreaded this moment of telling you guys, I really am fine, but I think because I’ve been through so much in the past couple of years…I’ve just kind of been dreading telling you because I think people will think, ‘What in the world?”
Lysa says her time away gave her the opportunity to discover the breast cancer. The tumor was found on a routine mammogram and after a second mammogram, then biopsy, it was confirmed she had cancer.
She also shares these powerful words and a Scripture from Psalms that has carried her through, a reminder for us all who may also be facing hard battles:
“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.” (Psalm 52:8-9)
“Thank you for your love and prayers these many months since I last posted.
Not one prayer you’ve whispered on behalf of my family has been wasted. God is moving and we are so thankful. Art and I are both praying for a miracle and walking the road to healing.
We are clinging to the promises of God on this journey full of twists and turns, ups and downs. There is often a process God will take people through to prepare us for the Promise.
We are a work in process. And this process is often messy and unpredictable. I don’t know exactly what tomorrow will look like but I do know who I’ll be looking to… the Lord… whose love is unfailing and whose hand is the safest place to entrust my hope.”
May God continue to heal Lysa from this recent surgery and surround her family in His huge peace and care. And may we all keep clinging to the promises of God on this journey of life full of twists and turns.
Photo courtesy: Twitter/Lysa TerKeurst