Members of the breast cancer team at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, from left, Suman Rao, MD, medical oncologist, Emily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, certified genetic counselor, Atsuko Okabe, MD, breast surgery specialist, Kristen Fernandez, MD, director of the Breast Center, Yvonne Ottaviano, MD, director of breast oncology, and Shweta Kurian, MD, medical oncologist.
Nearly every breast cancer patient will have surgery as part of their breast cancer treatment. The goal of breast cancer surgery is to remove the tumor and to evaluate the axillary lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread.
From oncology nurses to surgeons, your MedStar healthcare team believes in treating the whole person, not just the disease, and will support you with the compassion you deserve and the excellence you expect every step of the way.
Learn more about the breast surgery options offered at MedStar Franklin Square in Baltimore:
- Partial Mastectomy/Lumpectomy
- Axillary Lymph Node Dissection
- Sentinel lymph Node Biopsy
- Reconstructive Surgery
In addition to surgery, the Breast Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center offers access to over 16 breast cancer clinical trials in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute and world pharmaceutical companies. The team works closely with the MedStar Health Research Institute Research coordinator and MedStar Cancer Registry to identify patients every week that may be eligible for specific clinical trials.
A partial mastectomy (often called a lumpectomy) is the most common form of breast cancer surgery. It is a surgical procedure to remove a tumor from within your breast, as well as some tissue surrounding the tumor—it does not remove the entire breast, which it is why it is considered a breast-conserving or -preserving surgery.
The size of the breast may be a bit smaller after a partial mastectomy. If needed, MedStar Health plastic surgeons will use oncoplastic techniques to restore symmetry and reduce the other side to match.
Following surgery, most women will have radiation therapy to reduce the risk of cancer returning. Chemotherapy, if needed, is initiated before the radiation treatment.
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 axilla 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.
Breast Cancer Treatment in the News
Watch breast surgeons from the Breast Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center discuss breast cancer treatment options, including breast surgery, in the videos below:
To schedule an appointment, please call 443-777-6500.
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
9101 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21237
MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus
Breast Center at Bel Air
12 MedStar Blvd.
Bel Air, MD 21015
Breast Cancer Specialists
- Kristen Fernandez, MD, Breast Surgeon, Director of the Breast Center
- Atsuko Okabe, MD, Breast Surgeon
- Angie Cramer, BSN, RN, Department Manager
Women's Choice Award
Named one of America's best breast centers. Learn more.