Fortunately, most breast changes are not cancerous but benign. Nevertheless it is important to see your local doctor in the event that you notice a change, be it a lump, nipple discharge, skin dimpling, inflammation or other change. Your general practitioner will evaluate further and may order breast imaging and refer to Joanna for specialist advice.
The suspicion and diagnosis of breast cancer is typically a confronting and frightening experience. Not only does it affect the patient, but family and friends are similarly challenged. Joanna will explain the condition and guide you through the decisions that need to be made as the information unfolds. No breast cancer is the same. Whilst the word “cancer” can be scary and a negative one, many breast cancers are not life threatening. There are different tumour biologies and each individual will have their own personal, physical and psychological circumstances to consider. Joanna is compassionate and has significant experience in the diagnosis and surgical management of breast cancer. The timing and selection of surgery needs careful planning to maximise oncological (cancer) and cosmetic outcomes. Joanna will also be in discussion with other relevant specialists to ensure best practice, optimal care and management.
Joanna performs oncoplastic breast surgery. Surgical incisions are carefully positioned to hide the scar, such as around the edge of the areola, or in a skin crease beneath the breast or in the armpit. In addition Joanna can often operate on the breast and the armpit lymph nodes through a single incision. Other oncoplastic techniques are the lifting of the nipple and areola skin, to improve the nipple projection and position after breast tissue has been removed. This is especially important if the tumour lies in the lower breast. With some tumours, larger areas of breast tissue and skin need to be removed and Joanna performs these procedures. For more complex operations including skin sparing mastectomies with breast reconstruction, Joanna works in conjunction with a number of plastic surgeons. Joanna also performs this surgery in the prophylactic (breast cancer risk reducing) situation.
Joanna investigates and if required, operates on benign breast conditions. Ultrasound is particularly handy to use in the consulting rooms to further examine a lump or lesion. Sometimes, with permission, fine needle biopsies may be performed of complex cysts using ultrasound guidance. Similarly, larger or tender cysts can be easily drained with a fine needle in the rooms.