For many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, the potential loss of their breasts through mastectomy, which is an oftentimes life saving procedure, can prove intimidating and daunting. However, a new and rarely performed procedure known as nipple sparing mastectomy, may allow some patients to keep portions of their breasts despite the presence of multiple breast tumours that are widespread throughout the tissue.
Iraqi national Basma Ali Sultan, age 47 is one of the recent patients who has undergone this rare surgery. After grappling with her diagnosis and consistent discomfort in her breast for over a year following her breast cancer diagnosis last march, the doctors in her hometown in Iraq informed her that her only option was to remove the breast in its entirety.
In an effort to explore other options that would allow her to keep her breast, Basma traveled to India and scheduled an appointment with Dr. Anil Heroor, who is currently a cancer surgeon at Fortis Hospital. During her examination Dr. Heroor determined that due to multiple cancerous tumours located in her left breast, the breast conservation surgery that is most often performed would not be applicable in Basmas case. However, he thought she would be an excellent candidate for nipple sparing mastectomy, which is a breast conservation surgery that is specifically designed to work around tumours that have spread widely throughout the breast tissue, and, for many patients, it may help to maintain nipple sensitivity.
Basma was discharged from Fortis Hospital in India this past January following her nipple sparing mastectomy, through which the doctors were able to save both the nipple and the areola, and reconstruct the remainder of the entire breast. As the breast cancer survival rates climb, more patients than ever before are becoming concerned with preserving their physical appearance. Doctors have found that this helps to encourage their self esteem and self image, and increases the patients confidence post-surgery.
For more and more women, this surgery in addition to other breast conservation procedures are becoming a feasible option in helping women maintain the body that they had prior to their breast cancer diagnosis.