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Breast Cancer Surgery

image of two surgeons from the MedStar Union Memorial Hospital Breast Center performing a breast surgery

Dr. Maen Farha (left), medical director of the MedStar Union Memorial Hospital Breast Center performing a breast surgery.

At the MedStar Health Cancer Network, our breast cancer patients have long benefited from our multidisciplinary approach to cancer care. We offer a full array of treatment options for women facing breast cancer backed by extensive experience and a personal touch. Our breast surgeons—all Baltimore magazine “Top Doctors”—carefully evaluate each woman’s diagnosis and, working as a team with other specialists, create a personalized treatment plan specially designed to meet her unique needs.

Nearly every breast cancer patient will have a surgical procedure as part of their course of treatment. The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor and to evaluate the axillary lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread.

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Breast Cancer Surgery Options offered at MedStar Health Cancer Network Breast Centers



Breast - Conservation Surgery (BCS)

Also known as a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy) is an operation to remove the cancer while leaving as much of the breast intact as possible. This is often an option for a woman with early-stage cancer. The goal is to remove the cancer as well as some surrounding normal tissue. How much of the breast is removed depends on the size and location of the tumor and other factors.

Most women will need radiation therapy or receive hormone therapy after to help lower the risk of the cancer coming back. Some women might also need chemotherapy. If so, radiation therapy is usually delayed until the chemotherapy is completed. Studies show that choosing breast conservation surgery and radiation over mastectomy does not affect a woman’s chances of long-term survival. Not all women with breast cancer are candidates for this procedure, speak with our MedStar Health Cancer Network team to help determine if it is the best option for you.


Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

The lymphatic system includes the nodes, tissues, and organs that produce and store infection-fighting white blood cells, as well as lymph, the fluid that circulates throughout this system. In a properly functioning lymphatic system, your lymph nodes filter out the lymph, eliminating bacteria and other waste products—including cancer cells.

If cancer cells begin to travel through the lymphatic system, they can end up in the lymph nodes; in cancers that begin in the breast, the closest lymph nodes are in the armpit area—the axillary lymph nodes. If your doctor determines that your breast cancer has spread to these nodes, you will need an axillary dissection.

Most often, your surgeon will remove the Level I and II lymph nodes during this procedure. Generally, 45 lymph nodes are in the axillary and on average, 10-20 are removed during the operation.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Sentinel lymph node biopsy is surgery to identify, remove, and microscopically examine the lymph nodes directly in the pathway of spreading cancer cells— to assess whether breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes under your arm, which are the most likely lymph nodes to contain cancer. Read more.


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Location Information

For a physician referral, please call:


Our Locations

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Harbor Hospital
The Cancer Center
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
3333 North Calvert St.
Johnston Professional Bldg
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus
Breast Center at Bel Air
12 MedStar Blvd.
Bel Air, MD 21015

Learn More