Advanced Breast Preservation Techniques Enable Removal of Cancer While Preserving the Breast

Through the Breast Center at Alaska Surgical Oncology, we emphasize education to teach early self-detection of breast abnormalities.

From our educational website to our free Healthquest Guidebook, we provide community service for all Alaskans. The Healthquest Guidebook addresses early detection of many cancers, and explains how a woman can routinely check herself for breast abnormalities.

Breast changes are often benign, but trained specialists need to determine the type of evaluation required. “Advanced technology related to 3D Mammography diagnostic tests can be extremely helpful in ruling out false positives,” explains Dr. Charles Portera. “When breast cancer is suspected and ultimately diagnosed, the goal of the Breast Center at Alaska Surgical Oncology is to surgically remove any tumor or cancer while at the same time preserving the natural appearance of the breast.”

The best results require individualized, patient focused care with a multidisciplinary team. Dr. Portera works with the team to consider cancer biology, extent of disease, family history and patient goals to make a decision together. Techniques include lumpectomy, simple mastectomy, skin sparing mastectomy and nipple sparing mastectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy when indicated.

“Our ultimate goal is to help each person through the journey past breast cancer.”
– Dr. Charles Portera

Breast-Conserving Surgery (BCS)

With breast-conserving surgery, Dr. Portera removes only a part of the breast. Since the technique requires removal of tumor with as little healthy tissue as possible surrounding it, the sample is immediately examined under microscope by a pathologist. The surgeon and pathologists work together to determine if further tissue removal is necessary.

When more extensive tissue removal is necessary, Dr. Portera teams with a plastic surgeon for the best possible breast appearance. Breast reconstruction can often be done at the same time as the initial breast surgery. If staged or delayed reconstruction is needed, Dr. Portera and the plastic surgeon will work with the patient to determine optimal timing.

“Our ultimate goal is to help each person through the journey past breast cancer,” explains Dr. Portera. “With advanced techniques, we have the ability to preserve or restore a natural appearance while still achieving optimal cancer removal. All techniques require a specialized approach with a focus on breast cancer care.”

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If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Portera, please complete the following form. Our patient coordinators will followup with you to discuss next steps.