OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Steven Immerman, MD , FACS



Steven Immerman, MD, FACS
Thoracic Surgery
Evergreen Surgical, Eau Claire

Early Detection

The most important things that a woman should do to minimize the potential problems with this disease are related to early detection. The two main aspects of this are:

  • Monthly breast self examination (BSE)
  • Yearly mammography (starting at age 40)

Fortunately, we are finding many breast cancers when they are tiny and before they have spread because of these methods of detection.

Surgical Advances

As a result of finding small cancers, and because of advances in surgical technique, the surgery for breast cancer is usually much less extensive:

  • Removal of the entire breast (mastectomy) is often unnecessary.
  • Surgical techniques have changed from always removing all the lymph glands in the armpit, to a more selective biopsy of these glands.

In many situations, the treatment of breast cancer consists of removal of the area in the breast that has the cancer, along with a “sentinel node biopsy” which is a procedure that lets us selectively biopsy the necessary lymph glands in the armpit, while leaving most of the glands in place.

Additional findings

  • Post operative radiation treatments after a partial mastectomy minimizes the chance of recurrence.
  • In many situations post operative chemotherapy can improve a chance of a cure.
  • Breast reconstruction is always an option for those patients who have had a mastectomy.

Remember, your best defense in the fight against breast cancer is to follow the guidelines regarding Breast Self Examination and mammography, and to have any lumps that you notice checked by your physician.

More information on breast cancer and other types of cancer is available at the American Cancer Society web site: www.cancer.org.

If you would like more information on breast cancer and early detection, please contact Dr. Immerman at Evergreen Surgical » 715-832-1044.

Visit www.evergreensurgical.com