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Bruce E. Freedman, M.D., F.A.C.S.
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How important are self-breast exams?
By examing your breast each month, you will become aware of any changes from month to month. Early detection of lumps is very important. In most cases a mass is found by the patient.


I have breast cancer. Will I need radiation after surgery?
If you have chosen breast conservation therapy with a lumpectomy, radiation is required to treat the entire breast. If a mastectomy has been chosen, (with or without reconstruction) rarely is radiation necessary. Those situations where radiation is warranted following a mastectomy include significant lymphatic involment of the skin (inflammatory breast cancers) and where numerous (4 or more) lymph nodes are involved with metastatic cancer in the axilla.


I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Am I a candidate for “conservative” breast surgery?
Whether a person is or isn’t a candidate for conservative breast surgery usually has to do with tumor size and breast size. Most patients are candidates. Conservative breast surgery does, however, have to be combined with radiation therapy.


What is a sentinel lymph node?
The sentinel node is the first lymph node a cancer will spread to. By identifying that node and removing only that node, one may be able to avoid removal of any other lymph nodes. As long as the sentinel node shows no evidence of cancer, no other nodes need to be removed. This technique is appropriate for breast cancer and melanoma.


Will I need chemotherapy for my breast cancer following surgery?
Whether or not a patient is a candidate for chemotherapy is not based on which operative procedure she and her physician have chosen (mastectomy vs. conservation therapy). It is usually dependent upon the size of the primary tumor and whether or not the lymph nodes are involved. Most of the time these factors are not known until after surgery. Other factors, such as pre or post menopause state, patients age, and physical condition are also important

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