Precision Oncology
CategoriesOncology

Fighting Cancer With Precision Technology

Cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body and it develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. When old cells do not die and instead grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells, these extra cells may form a mass of tissue, called a tumor. However, some cancers, such as leukemia, do not form tumors.

The main categories are:

    • Carcinomas – develop in the skin or tissues that line the internal organs.
    • Sarcomas – develop in the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle or other connective tissues.
    • Leukemia – Develops in the blood and bone marrow.
    • Lymphomas – develop in the immune system.
    • Central nervous system cancers – develop in the brain and spinal cord.

The Oncology Center at QuironSalud, the largest hospital network in Spain, believes that the most important thing is to start with the correct diagnosis of each case, so a full and effective personalized treatment plan is given to the patients.  Their model is based on the idea of multidisciplinarity, which means that each case is analyzed by a highly qualified team of qualified specialists that ensure a comprehensive control program for the patient.

Precision Oncology at QuironSalud Torrevieja

Precision oncology, defined as molecular profiling of tumors to identify targetable alterations, has made progress in leaps and bounds in recent years and it is certainly revolutionizing cancer research. This treatment aims to improve prognosis and outcomes for patients.

In order to guarantee this, QuironSalud Torrevieja in Alicante, Spain, has all the next-generation diagnostic resources, such as genomics platforms, pathological anatomy, liquid biopsy, and molecular biology. Research and clinical trials are done periodically in order to understand the causes of cancer along with their biological behavior and patterns.  All this to ensure that patients are treated with the latest resources available.

Treatments and Techniques that are commonly treated include Leukemia, Melanoma, Lymphoma, Bone Cancer, and Tumors, i.e. Musculoskeletal, Gynaecological, Head, and neck (otolaryngology and maxillofacial), Neurological (CNS and peripheral), Breast, Urological, Digestive, Chest, Pediatric, Brain, and other central nervous system tumors.

About Dr. Brugarolas

Dr. Brugarolas is the Head Oncologist in QuironSalud Torrevieja and he is the author and/or co-author of over 100 publications about Oncology.  Twenty years ago he developed the “Oncology Platform”, an innovative project which brings together highly qualified doctors of different specialties, with the main goal of providing máximum results in the fight against Cancer.

Dr. Brugarolas specialized in Oncology in the USA at the Metropolitan Hospital and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in New York, and years later, he became the Head Oncologist at the Asturias General Hospital where he created the first oncology Facility in Spain.  He is also a member of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).

 

 

 

CategoriesDestination,  Oncology,  ozone therapy

Fighting Cancer with Ozone Therapy

Patrizia Barrueco is a Partner Success Manager at TaqTik and works with leading healthcare providers around the world to ensure TaqTik members receive top services, quality and pricing. Patrizia explores the anticancer benefits of ozone therapy, with PR Medica in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Ozone therapy works on the principle that medical grade ozone (O3) can trigger healing responses in the body. Used to increase the amount of oxygen in the body, Ozone therapy introduces ozone into the body through autohemotherapy. This process draws blood from the patient and exposes it to ozone. The blood is then re-injected directly into the vein. The history of Ozone Therapy dates back to 1950’s Germany and studies its effectiveness in a variety of conditions and illnesses. 

What is ozone?

Ozone is a form of oxygen that is composed of three oxygen atoms. It is the addition of the third oxygen atom that gives ozone its remarkable medical properties by making it a ‘supercharged’ oxygen atom. Ozone is found naturally in the body. In fact, our white blood cells make ozone as part of their immune response to sickness. 

Benefits of ozone therapy

Ozone therapy stimulates the immune system to speed up healing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and pain. It’s an effective antibiotic, improves circulation with an increase of blood flow, relieves muscular aches and pain, builds muscle and dissipates fat, boosts energy levels so your body stays healthy, fights infection and speeds recovery.

Conditions that benefit from ozone therapy include: 

  • Cancer
  • Meniscal tears and joint disorders
  • Shingles (herpes zoster and herpes simplex)
  • Herniated discs
  • Diabetic ulcers and venous stasis
  • Allergies and chronic sinusitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Alzheimer’s and senile dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Chronic bladder conditions
  • Macular degeneration
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s
  • Tinnitus
  • Vaginal infections
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Candidiasis
Natural benefits of ozone therapy

Medical ozone is such a wonder for the treatment of cancer because it doesn’t harm healthy cells. It oxidizes and destroys unhealthy cells including cancer cells, viruses, bacteria, fungal cells and other unwanted cells. 

How does it affect only the unhealthy cells? Ozone (O3) is broken down by normal cells in the blood. Once in the body tissue, it is reduced to a single oxygen and hydrogen peroxide by enzymes such as catalase. Malignant cells lack these enzymes and ozone oxidizes the outer layer of their cells and causes tumour cell destruction (lysis). 

“Even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen on normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.” – Dr. Otto Warburg (two time Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine). 

PRMEDICA is one of the best clinics offering Ozone Therapy in Mexico, so you can combine your treatment with a wonderful time in Los Cabos. This destination is famous for its beautiful sunsets, whale watching, Cabo Pulmo Marine Park and other spectacular attractions.

Take the next step

If you have any comments or questions about ozone therapy with PR Medica in Los Cabos, Mexico please comment below or contact me directly at patrizia.barrueco@taqtik.com. You can also request a firmquote or book an appointment when you are on vacation!

ct pt scan
CategoriesOncology

Preventative Cancer Screening in Japan

Kameda Medical Centre in the Chiba Prefecture in Kamogawa City, Japan has invested in progressive preventative screening technologies that can detect cancer in the early stages. The Kameda Medical Center’s total body cancer examination utilizes PET-CT scanning and other diagnostic testing procedures to detect the early stages of malignancy in the body.
The benefits of preventative screening

The incidence of cancer rates worldwide is ever increasing, and across the globe people are seeking answers about the condition of their health. Regular screening helps to find cancers before symptoms appear. If affected cells are detected early, treatment is more effective and can save lives.

What is PET-CT?

PET-CT is an advanced imaging technology that can detect small cancers that may have been previously missed. Combining PET (positron emission tomography) and CT (computed tomography) technologies is a highly effective way to check for cancer. These technologies can identify high glucose consumption lesions and accurately represent anatomical details of the human body. The combination of these two technologies in one machine is the most modern approach to diagnostic imaging.

ct machiene

What part of the body does a PET-CT check?

The PET-CT scan will capture images from the head to the upper portion of the lower limb checking for small cancers, inflammatory changes, degenerative changes and high glucose consumption including:

  • Lungs
  • Spine
  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Salivary gland
  • Lymphatic organs in the neck
  • Stomach
  • Kidney
  • Bladder
  • Bowels
Strengths
Limitations
  • Detects cancers 1cm or larger
  • Pinpoints exact position of cancer
  • Evaluate extent of cancer and whether benign or malignant
  • Examines entire body in one scan
  • Minimal discomfort with only one injection
  • May not detect cancers 1cm or smaller
  • The difference between inflammations and cancers can be unclear and may need further testing
  • Patients with high blood sugar levels may not obtain the correct results
About Kameda Medical CENTER

The Kemeda Medical Center includes Kameda General Hospital and Kameda Clinic, and treats approximately 3,000 outpatients every day. The center has a strong commitment to improving quality of life and attracts patients locally and from all corners of the globe. The Kameda Medical Center is located in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo and is home to Japan’s busiest international airport. Chiba Prefecture features 10th– century temples, the Boso Peninsula– a the popular resort destination and the sprawling Tokoyo Disney Resort.

The next step

If you’re looking for answers and want to detect possible cancer cells before symptoms appear, regular screening is the best way forward. You can contact the Taqtik Health customer care team for more information or search available Kameda Medical Centre packages on the Taqtik Marketplace.

medical robotics
CategoriesOncology,  Partners,  Urology

Advantages of Radical Robotic Prostatectomy

QuironSalud is the largest hospital Group in Spain and following a merger with a German company, Fresnius Helios, it is the largest group in Europe with network of over 125 centers, including 50 general hospitals and 7 university hospitals. With additional locations in Dubai, Lisbon, Peru and Medellin. Urology and Oncology are among their main specialties, and today we bring you one of their successful procedures such as the Radical Robotic Prostatectomy.

The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system located under the bladder and above the anus. It is the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the channel through which urine flows from the bladder). The prostate gland produces a secretion that is part of the semen. Prostate cancer appears due to the formation of malignant cells in the tissues of the prostate. Treatment options and prognosis depend on the stage of the cancer and many other variables, but it is clear that the implementation of Screening Programs have helped to raise the rate of early detection and, therefore, , to increase the survival rate. In addition, new advances in medical technology have caused a leap in quality in the approach to this pathology.

Radical prostatectomy

It is one of the most common treatments for prostate cancer that involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland. Traditional radical prostatectomy requires the surgeon to make an incision of 8 to 12 centimeters in the abdomen of the patient. This usually causes a significant loss of blood, a prolonged and uncomfortable recovery and the risk of suffering from impotence and incontinence.

Radical robotic prostatectomy

The approach to prostate cancer is minimally invasive and incorporates a state-of-the-art surgical system whereby the surgeon will be able to see more clearly the vital anatomical structures and carry out the surgical procedure to remove the prostate. The most recent studies suggest that robotic prostatectomy reduces the risk of urinary incontinence and impotence after the intervention. The advantages of this system, compared to open prostatectomy, are multiple, a shorter stay in in hospital, less pain, faster recovery, and fewer scars.

The team of specialists in Urology of the Robotic Surgery Program at QuironSalud have years of experience and is specifically trained in robotic technology.

 

 
breast check
CategoriesOncology

What To Do If You Find A Lump In Your Breast

India Bottomley

There are no two ways about it: noticing a change to your breast can be scary. But that is not an excuse for inaction. Here, The AEDITION speaks to three women who experienced a breast cancer scare and did something about it.

Since 1985, October has served as Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Month — a period devoted to educating the public on the disease that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the second most common form of cancer in women, regardless of race or ethnicity. Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer (albeit at a much lower rate), and The AEDITION is devoting much of its coverage this month to BCA, from expert guides to mastectomies and reconstructive breast surgery to powerful patient perspectives and roundups of products that give back.

Because breast cancer awareness has become so mainstream in recent years with everyone from celebrities to the NFL dedicating time and resources to supporting the cause, men and women alike are increasingly aware of the warning signs. Women especially are encouraged to regularly conduct their own self breast exams and may even ask their partners to let them know if they notice any changes, too.

But happens if/when you find a lump? Because breast cancer has such a high profile and statistics like one in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime are well known, people are often fearful to seek medical advice after noticing a change in their breast tissue because they assume the worst.

While it is absolutely essential to get any changes checked out by a medical professional, it is also important to remember that 80 to 85 percent of lumps found in women under the age 40 are benign and caused by fibrocystic changes, cysts, fibroadenomas, or fat necrosis to name a few.

With this in mind, it is important to understand the function and importance of breast exams. We’ve already shared the resilient stories of mastectomy patients (HERE) and those who have undergone breast reconstruction procedures (HERE), and in this article The AEDITION speaks to women who found a lump and decided to do something about it.

Breast Check Basics

For women with no family history of breast cancer, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises people in their twenties and thirties have a breast examination carried out by a healthcare provider every one or three years. The American Cancer Society, meanwhile, recommends annual mammograms for women between the ages of 40 and 55. Women over 55 can switch to mammograms every two years or continue with yearly screenings. But that doesn’t mean you should just sit around for your next trip to the gynecologist.

Women are encouraged to conduct a self examination about once a month. Because benign lumps are known to appear over the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle, it is best to perform the exam at the same time every month — ideally a few days after your period ends.

During the exam, it is important to be on the lookout for any changes in the appearance of both the exterior breast (skin, areola, and nipple) and the interior tissue. Things to feel and look for include:

  • A visible change in the shape or size of the breast or nipple
  • A change in how the breast skin looks or feels (think: dimpling or puckering)
  • Soreness, redness, or rashes on the breast or underarm area
  • Any areas that are visibly different compared to the rest of your breast tissue
  • A lump (can be a small as the size of a pea) that persists in the breast or underarm area

If you notice any of these symptoms or something just doesn’t feel like your version of ‘normal,’ it is time to consult a medical professional for a more thorough check. Chances are, it is simple to treat. But if it is breast cancer, early detection is key.

Patient Perspective

There are no two ways about it: finding a lump in your breast or noticing some other change to the chest can be alarming. But that is not an excuse for inaction. Here, The AEDITION speaks to three women who lived through a breast cancer scare about their experiences and why they encourage everyone to consult a doctor as soon as they notice something isn’t quite right.

Anna, 29, Los Angeles

The AEDITION: What caused you to become concerned about your breasts?

Anna: I was at college and aware that I needed to check myself every so often. I didn’t check as often as I now know I should, but one day I was in the bathroom and found a lump. It was probably around the size of an olive. I panicked and decided I wouldn’t tell anyone. My theory was that if I ignored it, it would go away. I would prove to myself that it wasn’t anything serious. But after a while, it was still there. A family friend had been diagnosed with cancer recently, so I guess it was on my mind. I made an appointment to see my doctor. At that point, I was convinced the only thing it could be was cancer.

The AEDITION: What happened during your doctor’s appointment?

Anna: I explained to the physician that I found this lump and that I thought I might have breast cancer. I was so anxious, but the doctor took the time to listen to me while I gave my garbled version of events. She then checked the lump herself, which was uncomfortable, but it didn’t take too long. She then asked me whether I had any pain, whether it changed during my cycle, and whether or not I’d noticed any other symptoms. I was referred for an ultrasound — my doctor explained it would give her a clearer idea of what was going on — but she also took some time to reassure me that it could very easily be something simple to treat and not cancer at all.

The AEDITION: What did the next steps look like for you?

Anna: First of all, I told a friend, which was probably the best thing I did throughout the process. She was able to reassure me and she also came with me to my other appointments. I had the ultrasound quite soon after the first appointment. Again, it was uncomfortable in that I’m not keen on being naked in front of random people, but, other than that, it wasn’t painful or anything. About a week after that I went back to the primary care doctor, who explained to me that it was a cyst. Because it was filled with liquid and not solid, I didn’t even need to have a biopsy. She told me to keep an eye on it, and if it became painful, they could offer me some other treatment options. That was about four years ago now, and I haven’t had any problems since. I do check my breasts regularly though, and I’m such an advocate for people getting any concerns checked out quickly.

The AEDITION: What advice do you have for someone who finds themselves in a similar situation?

Anna: I would say do the brave, grown-up thing and get it checked. Don’t bury your head in the sand because, if it is cancer, that’s literally the worst thing you could do. I think the awareness we have of breast cancer is amazing now, but it can make finding an issue so scary because the first thing that comes to mind is cancer. I also think people should share their concerns. Chances are a friend has been through a very similar thing — especially by the time you reach your late twenties. I know so many people who have been through the same panic. It’s best to share with both friends and doctors.

Stephanie, 58, Texas

The AEDITION: Would led you to believe you might have breast cancer?

Stephanie: I was checking my breast, which I do regularly now that I’m older. I felt something a bit different on my right side — almost in my underarm area. I had a sinking feeling when I first felt it and managed to calm myself down enough to have a Google, which, in hindsight, was not my best idea. I was pretty sure what I found could be a sign of breast cancer, and, honestly, I was scared. It took me a few days to gather together the courage to get a consult, but I didn’t want to leave it because I know how important it can be to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

The AEDITION: What pushed you to visit a doctor?

Stephanie: I think breast cancer awareness has reached this amazing level where most of us know to check ourselves and not to mess around with it if we do find something a bit suspicious. I gave myself a couple of days to accept the potential reality of the situation and went to see my doctor. I explained the situation, and he took a look. Fortunately, the office also has an ultrasound room and I was able to sit and wait for it to come available there and then. I was told I had a liquid-filled cyst, and I was booked in for a biopsy. A couple of days after the biopsy, I received a call from my doctor, who explained what it was. He told me that I had an oil cyst, which can happen when fat is damaged. It wasn’t cancer at all. He praised me for being so reactive when I found it and told me to go and get on with my life — but to keep on checking in the future.

The AEDITION: Did you know about fat necrosis when you initially felt the scar tissue in your breast?

Stephanie: I honestly thought I was well informed about all things breasts, but apparently I was not. I hadn’t ever heard of it. I think it’s really important that, as much as we now all learn about checking for cancer, we also get told about other, far less life-altering issues we could develop in that area. I think it can be reassuring — especially for younger people — to know there are other conditions out there. Finding out quickly can save a lot of stress, but it is also important if it is cancer.

Jennifer, 34, Miami

The AEDITION: Could you give us an idea of the symptoms that led to your concern?

Jennifer: It happened not long before I stopped breastfeeding my daughter, so I was kind of acutely aware of what was going on with my breasts. One of them started to get a little painful and, over time, got somewhat swollen and warm. My main concern was getting it seen quickly. Not only was I in pain, but I was scared that if I left it, I could jeopardize my future with my daughter.

The AEDITION: What was your experience like with your doctor?

Jennifer: I went to see my daughter’s pediatrician for an appointment that had been booked for weeks. While I was there, I broke down in tears and explained what was going on. The doctor was so lovely. She told me it sounded like an infection called mastitis, which is super common for new moms. She explained to me that I just needed some antibiotics and to keep an eye on how it progressed. She was so sweet and completely understood why I was so worried about the situation. Since then, I’ve done a fair bit of research just out of curiosity, and it turns out there are so many breast conditions I had no idea even existed. I think it’s so amazing that cancer awareness pushes people to check themselves and to consult quickly. I’m certain it’s helping to save hundreds of lives every year.

The AEDITION: What advice would you give to someone who is feeling worried about consulting a doctor about a concern they have with their breasts?

Jennifer: I think the concern stems more from the fear of it possibly being something ‘big’ as opposed to the fear of consulting in itself. And I do think that people knowing there are other things the symptoms could point to — aside from cancer — is reassuring on that front. That being said, I think the urgency that has been created from awareness is crucial when it actually is cancer. I think, if you’re concerned, ask for help as soon as possible, but hold on to the fact that 85 percent of lumps and bumps that people consult about are not cancer at all.

Taqtik Marketplace provides a platform for medical tourism consumers to find the best packages available, from facilitators all over the world. Find out more about our oncology partners, and packages at Taqtik Marketplace.

This article first appeared on the aedit.com on October 23rd 2019.

Taqtik mastectomy
CategoriesOncology

What to Expect Before, During and After Mastectomy Surgery.

When it comes to breast cancer prevention, treatment, and recovery, mastectomies play an important role — but the surgery is often deeply personal and emotional. Here, The AEDITION speaks with two preeminent reconstructive surgeons about the procedure.

Since 1985, October has served as Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Month — a period devoted to educating the public on the disease that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the second most common form of cancer in women, regardless of race or ethnicity. Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer (albeit at a much lower rate), and The AEDITION is devoting much of its coverage this month to BCA, from expert guides to mastectomies and reconstructive breast surgery to powerful patient perspectives and roundups of products that give back.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Cancer Institute, 268,600 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. There will also be an estimated 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer reported in men. When it comes to breast cancer prevention, treatment, and recovery, mastectomies play an important role, but the surgery is deeply personal and emotional. Approaching the procedure and all the decisions that accompany it armed with the best information is key, and The AEDITION here to help.

WHAT IS A MASTECTOMY?

A mastectomy is a surgery to remove tissue from one or both breasts in an effort to eliminate cancer cells or prevent cancerous tumors from forming in the future. Not be confused with a lumpectomy, which extracts lumps of cancerous cells from the breast without removing all of the surrounding tissue, a mastectomy involves the removal of all the breast tissue. While a lumpectomy is a less invasive breast cancer treatment option — both physically and emotionally — it is not always an aggressive enough solution.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF MASTECTOMIES?

Whether the procedure is being used for breast cancer prevention or treatment, there are four main types of mastectomies that can be performed unilaterally (removing one breast) or bilaterally (removing both breasts). Which technique is chosen often depends on a patient’s body and diagnosis.

Simple (a.k.a. Total) Mastectomy: A surgeon removes the entire breast (including the skin, tissue, nipple, and areola) but does not perform a lymph node dissection.
Radical Mastectomy: Reserved for rare cases when the cancer has spread into the underlying muscles, the procedure removes the breast, three levels of underarm lymph nodes, and the chest muscles under the breast. In a more common modified radical mastectomy, the breast tissue and lymph nodes are removed but the muscles of the chest wall remain.
Skin-Sparing Mastectomy: For patients who wish to combine a mastectomy with breast reconstruction surgery, this technique seeks to preserve as much of the breast skin as possible — regardless of whether a simple or radical procedure was performed.
Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: Surgeons remove the breast tissue but keep the skin, nipple, and areola to aid the reconstruction process.

DO WOMEN CARRYING THE BRCA1 OR BRCA2 GENE NEED A PROPHYLACTIC (I.E. PREVENTATIVE) MASTECTOMY?

About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Of women carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, an estimated 72 and 69 percent will develop breast cancer by the age of 80, respectively.

While the decision is a personal one, National Cancer Institute data shows that women with either gene who undergo a prophylactic (a.k.a. preventative) mastectomy reduce their risk of breast cancer by 95 percent. Women who have a strong family history of breast cancer, meanwhile, see their risk mitigated by up to 90 percent with the procedure.

MASTECTOMY FAQ

Nashville-based board certified plastic surgeon Jacob Unger, MD, who specializes in reconstructive surgery following trauma and cancer, answers some of the most common questions that accompany mastectomy procedures.

The AEDITION: Is a mastectomy a 100 percent guarantee to be breast cancer-free?

Dr. Unger: No, there is always a chance of recurrence. No surgery can guarantee removal of every single cell of breast tissue. Recurrence rates are usually between one and five percent, depending on multiple factors for each individual person.

The AEDITION: Can men get breast cancer and need a mastectomy?

Dr. Unger: Yes, men can absolutely get a mastectomy. Depending on the size of the man’s breast, the scar pattern will vary, but the goal is to create a flat chest with aesthetically acceptable scar patterns that are hopefully hidden in the creases of the male pectoral muscles, if it all possible.

The AEDITION: When would someone get a unilateral versus bilateral mastectomy?

Dr. Unger: There are times where bilateral mastectomy is indicated from the cancer standpoint — such as if you have cancer in both breasts or have a particular type of cancer that leads to a very high risk of having cancer in the opposite breast as well as one that is primarily diagnosed.

I typically have a long conversation with patients talking about the pros and cons of unilateral versus bilateral mastectomy. One of the common reasons for bilateral mastectomy is many women do not feel comfortable keeping one natural breast. In these cases, there is also the additional upside of being able to attain symmetry much more easily due to the fact that I, as the reconstructive surgeon, am able to create the same thing on both sides. This is more difficult to do with one natural breast and one reconstructed breast.

Young women with a higher lifetime risk or women with large and low ptotic breasts are often best suited for bilateral, from both the risk standpoint and to create better shape and more symmetric breasts.

The AEDITION: How does a patient choose between a skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy?

Dr. Unger: The data is fairly clear that, unless there is direct nipple involvement, it is equally safe to get a nipple-sparing mastectomy or skin-sparing mastectomy. The reasons to get skin-sparing mastectomy and remove the nipple are, again, if there is direct involvement of the nipple with cancer thus being unable to keep it; or if the nipple is in a very poor position — such as too low — making it an impediment for creating an aesthetically pleasing outcome. Smaller breasts and even some larger, well-shaped breasts are often good candidates for nipple-sparing mastectomy.

WHAT IS LIKE TO GET A MASTECTOMY?

Given each patient will have a unique medical history and diagnosis, everyone’s process will look a little different. After finding the right surgeon(s) and determining the best course of action for your condition (some mastectomies may be combined with radiation or other treatments), the mastectomy procedure generally involves the same course of action.

Without breast reconstruction, a mastectomy is usually an outpatient procedure that lasts one to three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon typically begins by making an elliptical incision around the breast (more incisions may be needed for a nipple-sparing surgery) and removing the tissue and any other part of the breast (i.e. the nipple, skin, areola) decided upon. The sentinel node or axillary lymph node dissection will also be performed as needed.

If a reconstructive procedure is not being performed in tandem, the surgeon will insert surgical drains to accommodate excess fluid and close the incision (the drains will be removed during the first post-op appointment, about one to two weeks after the procedure). The entire surgical site is then wrapped with a bandage.

Mastectomy side effects are similar to those of most surgeries, and many doctors will prescribe pain medication to deal with the symptoms. Most patients experience pain and swelling, buildup of blood at the surgery site, limited mobility, and numbness. Infection is also possible, as is lymphedema (fluid build up), in cases where the nodes are removed.

Depending on the type of mastectomy performed, some patients may be able to go home the same day, while longer hospital stays (up to three days) may be needed for bilateral and reconstructive procedures.

POST-MASTECTOMY FAQ

So, what can patients expect in the aftermath of a mastectomy? The AEDITION spoke to Leif Rogers, MD, a Beverly Hills-based board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is a pioneer in advanced breast reconstruction, about what to expect post-op.

The AEDITION: What does the chest look like after a mastectomy?

Dr. Rogers: How a chest looks after mastectomy is completely dependent on the oncological breast surgeon. Different surgeons have different preferred techniques. If a traditional mastectomy is performed without a skin-sparing technique, the chest has a transverse scar on it running from the axillary lymph nodes (armpit area) to almost the sternum. If skin-sparing is performed and a tissue expander or implant is placed at the time of mastectomy, the breast can look relatively normal immediately. Additional surgeries are often needed to fine tune the result for symmetry and optimal cosmesis.

The AEDITION: When it comes to breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, what can patients expect?

Dr. Rogers: There are a great many things that can be done for breast reconstruction. Many of the old limitations for reconstruction — especially after radiation therapy — no longer apply. I can build a breast using an implant or a patient’s own tissue. If a patient elects to use her own tissue, there are many different procedures to choose from. I feel the best three, in terms of cosmetic outcome of the breast and minimal donor site morbidity, are the DIEP flap (deep inferior epigastric perforator, which runs through the abdomen), the TUG flap (transverse upper gracilis in the upper thighs), and autologous fat grafting. All of these techniques can be used to create one or both breasts without the use of an implant.

Implant reconstructions have also gotten much better with the addition of autologous fat grafting. Fat grafting can smooth out the contours and make almost any implant reconstruction look like a natural breast. Nipples can also be reconstructed using one of a number of techniques and can look 90 percent like the original. Nipple reconstruction has been less often required in recent times due to the acceptance of nipple-sparing mastectomies.

The AEDITION: When do you recommend patients get reconstructive surgery?

Dr. Rogers: I always recommend starting the reconstructive process at the time of mastectomy. The cosmetic outcomes are far superior. I also recommend skin-sparing and, if possible, nipple-sparing mastectomies. I find that even if a flap procedure is the chosen method of reconstruction, a primary placement of a tissue expander improves the cosmetic outcome and decreases complication significantly.

THE TAKEAWAY

While a mastectomy is never an easy procedure for the patient or their loved ones, much progress has been made in surgical and reconstruction methods. Finding the right surgeons and treatment for your diagnosis will ensure you get the best care possible, and, for those who choose to undergo a reconstructive procedure in tandem (or in the future), natural breasts are attainable through implants, fat grafting, or a combination of the two.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

If you’re looking for Oncology treatment such as Mastectomy surgery, you may be able to find it at your favourite holiday destination. The Taqtik Marketplace give’s members free access to elective medical services world-wide.

For more information on destinations that offer Oncology treatment contact the Taqtik Customer Care Team, or search for available packages on the Taqtik Marketplace.

This article was originally published on the Aedition website.

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