Breast Cancer Surgery
Every patient and their breast cancer journey is different. There are protocols however, there is no black and white blanket approach to treating an individual patient.
It’s important to know the complete range of options and the new advances available in the management of breast cancer. Cancer clinicians, like myself, exist to guide you through the different treatment options available to help you become informed with scientifically proven choices so that you can make the best choice of action for yourself.
I believe each patient needs to be treated as a priority and that treatment, whether it be surgery or chemotherapy, needs to be conducted with a sense of urgency. I personally oversee all areas of your care and ensure the co-ordination and management of all multidisciplinary specialists.
My clinic’s personalised and holistic approach employs the most sophisticated, safest and proven methods for your individual situation.
I know that during your breast cancer journey it is vitally important that you have a Surgeon who is easily accessible and may be approached at any time with any concerns that you may have whilst undergoing your treatment and beyond.
It is a great honour to be invited into the lives of my patients and their families, to join them on this journey. I am so grateful for the opportunity to provide you with support, vigilance, and most importantly, a course of action based on extensive knowledge and research. Many patients and families form a close and long term relationship.
Breast Cancer Procedures
Dr Cheung works intimately with a Multidisciplinary team of Specialists who collaborate together to provide you comprehensive and co-ordinated services to best meet your individual needs.
Minimal Scar Surgery
Dr Cheung always aims to leave the most discrete scars as much as possible so that you are not reminded of your treatment. The breast is a very “emotive organ” and whether we accept it or not, it affects our psychological and social wellbeing. Having treated thousands of women, Dr Cheung understands the beneficial effects of making patients feel good about their body and body image whilst treating their breast condition with curative intent.
Lumpectomy or Wide Local Excision – (Breast Conservation)
A Lumpectomy or wide local excision allows for only the lump to be removed with an adequate margin of surrounding tissue. This technique is recommended in selected cases with early small breast cancer and is carried out in a way to ensure the best cosmetic outcome.
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic in hospital as a day case. In addition, some lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla) will be sampled (sentinel lymph node biopsy) to check for metastasis (cancer cells spreading to lymph node), or axillary clearance (removal of all lymph nodes) will be performed if lymph nodes are found to contain cancer cells. You will almost always be recommended to have radiation therapy after operation. This is to reduce to the risk of cancer recurrence in the breast. Lumpectomy with radiotherapy has been proven to be as effective as mastectomy in reducing risk of cancer recurrence.
Dr Cheung performs three different types of Mastectomies in the treatment of breast cancer. Dependant on the type, size and status of the lymph node involvement of the tumour, radiation therapy may be less likely after a mastectomy.
Dr Cheung will discuss which options of mastectomy, with either immediate or delayed reconstruction, is best for you. In some well selected cases, a patient might be offered a choice to have chemotherapy (Neoadjuvant Therapy) before surgery. As the tumour will shrink with chemotherapy, this might increase your chance of having breast conserving surgery instead of mastectomy. This has been shown to be as effective as the traditional use of chemotherapy after surgery, and in addition, reduce the need for mastectomy.
This mastectomy involves the removal of skin, nipple and breast tissue, resulting in a scar across the chest wall. This procedure is tolerated by the majority of patients with a minimal risk. This option of treatment allows for you to wear a prosthesis in your bra. Our BreastCare Nurse will assist you with measuring and ordering a suitable prosthesis. There is financial assistance from Medicare with purchasing a prosthesis.
There may be instances where some patients would prefer to have no reconstruction surgery and are happy to just have a simple mastectomy. Dr Cheung respects the decision of her patients and will do all that she can to fulfil her patient’s wishes and whilst providing the best possible care for each patient.
Skin Sparing Mastectomy
This mastectomy removes the areola and nipple but a skin envelop is left behind for a better coverage of reconstruction with autologous flap or implant and is usually used for patients who are not suitable for nipple sparing mastectomy.
Nipple Sparing/ Total Skin Sparing Mastectomy
This mastectomy excises the breast tissue leaving behind a skin envelope and areola with nipple. This technique allows for a better cosmesis in selected cases. This technique has been shown to be safe in breast cancer patients, with no significant increase risk of cancer recurrence.
Dr Cheung is considered one of the most experienced in this technique. She presented the first personal series of nipple sparing mastectomies, which conserves breast skin including the nipples, in Australia confirming the safety and immense patient satisfaction of this technique.