Surgery for MBC

Updated 
August 31, 2015

Surgery is rarely done for metastaticinfo-icon breast cancer, but there are several reasons your doctor may recommend it:

  • If you have pain or bleeding, removing the primary, or original, tumorinfo-icon may help ease symptoms.
  • If the cancer in your bones, lung, liver or brain is not growing or is in only one place. Talk to your doctor about this option and any new studies on this topic.
  • Tumors in places outside the breast are causing you pain or other side effects.

Talk with your doctor about the possible benefits of surgeryinfo-icon, whether through a clinical trialinfo-icon or separate from one.

Surgery Considerations for Young Women

As a young woman with metastaticinfo-icon disease, you have different treatment options than a postmenopausalinfo-icon woman because of the way your body makes hormones.

If you have hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, you may consider having your ovaries removed with surgeryinfo-icon. In an oophorectomyinfo-icon,  the ovaries are removed through the vagina via a cut in the lower abdomen or a small cut at the top of the vagina using a laparoscope, a viewing tube to see the structures within the abdomen and pelvis. Removing the ovaries takes away most of the estrogeninfo-icon in your body. Your adrenal glands, glands that sit over the kidnesy and control important body functions, will still make small amounts of estrogen.

An oophorectomy would greatly reduce your risk of the cancer growing. But it will cause you to go into menopauseinfo-icon suddenly instead of slowly over time as you would with natural menopause. Side effects include hot flashes, an increased risk for heart disease, bone loss or fractures and decreased sexual desire.

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