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Marilyn Leitch, M.D. Answers Questions On Breast Cancer

Marilyn Leitch, M.D. Answers Questions On: Breast Cancer

What are the latest advancements in breast-conserving surgery?

Breast-conserving surgery with less cosmetic deformity is one of the most recent advancements to benefit patients. At UT Southwestern, advanced oncoplastic surgical techniques are applied to reshape the breast. 

For women whose tumors are initially too large for a lumpectomy, we can give chemotherapy or anti-hormone therapies preoperatively (neoadjuvant) to reduce the size of the tumor to make it more amenable to breast-preserving surgery.

Why should patients choose UT Southwestern for cancer treatment over other physicians or hospitals?

We truly have the best minds at UT Southwestern, dedicated to understanding the best answers for our breast cancer patients. We take the time to talk to patients, to understand their concern and needs – and then work with them to fight the cancer. 

Our multidisciplinary breast cancer team combines our unique skills and knowledge to achieve the best possible results for patients. Our focus is not just one aspect of breast cancer treatment, but the entire scope of care from diagnosis to surgery to support after treatment. A patient can receive all aspects of care in one place.

Why is it important to consider reconstructive surgery as part of the treatment plan for breast cancer?

As surgical oncologists, we remove the cancer. Our team also includes some of the world’s leading plastic surgeons to perform breast reconstruction procedures. Our surgeons use the latest techniques to re-create breasts that look and feel natural. We can perform breast reconstruction immediately after a mastectomy. 

We are one of only a few cancer centers in the country that offers certain types of advancements in breast reconstruction. Our surgeons are willing to take the increased time and effort to reconstruct breasts using the patient’s own tissue (DIEP flap reconstruction). Plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern are expert in microvascular surgery to allow reconstruction with the most advanced techniques.

What are your views on preventive prophylactic mastectomies?

Preventive mastectomies are being performed more and more. Although this may be the right course of action for some women, there are some patients having these procedures unnecessarily. We believe it is essential to talk with women about their options, including prophylactic mastectomy, and help them through the decision-making process.