Breast Conservation

Breast Conservation Surgery for Breast Cancer

This is Dr Tan’s particular interest. Breast conservation is the complete removal of the breast tumour with a concentric margin of surrounding healthy tissue performed in a cosmetically acceptable manner. This is also known as lumpectomy, but Dr Tan prefers ‘breast conservation treatment’ or’ wide excision’ because lumpectomy tends to give the impression that a complete removal with a rim of normal tissue has NOT been performed.

Clinical trials with more than 20 years of follow up have documented that breast conservation surgery followed by whole breast irradiation has an outcome equivalent to mastectomy. Surgeons skilled in oncoplastic techniques can extend the scope of breast conservation to include patients with tumours 3-5 cm in diameter. Theoretically, there is no size limitation for breast conservation as long as local excision with clear margins can be achieved with an acceptable cosmetic result (Schwartz, 2003). In other words, the majority of breast cancers can be effectively treated with breast conservation surgery.

It is known that 30% or more of women who have undergone breast conservation develop a deformity if no special measures are taken during surgery to prevent it. (Baildum BJS 2002) Dr Tan has published two articles on how to prevent these deformities, and is the only surgeon in Singapore to have written on such special techniques. Now, larger or more complex cancers can be treated with breast conservation without the resultant deformities using these techniques. If there is such a situation where breast removal has been recommended, you may wish to consult Dr Tan to see if breast conservation can be achieved. Dr Tan is the first surgeon internationally to describe a special incision and technique to prevent the deformity of the nipple after cancer surgery. Feel free to ask her to show you examples of how these have been achieved. It might be of interest that this article has been requested by breast surgeons from Holland and the United Kingdom as a reference.

Dr Tan performs her breast conservation without the use of reconstructive methods like some other surgeons recommend. This is because techniques like hers have been shown to be associated with a lower risk of complications, better cosmetic and functional outcomes. (Kronowitz, 2006)

Related Topics: Remodelling

Our Locations

Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, #06-21
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
Singapore 329563
Phone: (65) 6694 1706

Mount Elizabeth Orchard
3 Mt Elizabeth, #11-02,
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510
Phone: (65) 6734 4880

Consultation Hours

Mon - Fri: 9 am to 12:30pm; 2 pm to 5 pm
Sat: Strictly by Appointment