Sandra Lee, Food Network star, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The type of cancer that Lee has been diagnosed with is called ductal carcinoma in situ.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is the most common non-invasive type of breast cancer. This specific type of breast cancer is non-life threatening. The cancer is considered non-invasive because it is found in the area of the breast that produces milk. If left untreated, the cancer can spread to the surrounding tissue and become more of a threat. The American Cancer Society states that 1 in 5 cases of breast cancer are the type that Sandra Lee has.
Lee will be undergoing a procedure known as a double mastectomy. A double mastectomy is a surgical procedure that takes place under general anesthesia. Breast tissue is not the only thing that is removed in this procedure. Lymph nodes are also removed. The lymph nodes are removed because they are designed to act like filters in the immune system. Cancer can easily spread into the lymph nodes and become a life threatening problem. The lymph nodes that are removed due to breast cancer are located under the arm in an area called the axillary nodes.
The length of the surgery will vary based on how easily it is for the surgeon to remove everything that needs to be removed. The amount of time the patient needs to spend in the hospital also varies. The reason hospital stay varies is due to what type of breast reconstruction the patient will be having after the cancer-removing surgery.
A breast cancer patient has a few different types of options in regards to breast reconstruction after surgery. A plastic surgeon will be the one doing this procedure. The plastic surgeon will coordinate with the surgeon who is performing the cancer removal and together with the patient, a plan will be decided on.
Breast cancer patients have a decision to make when it comes to the type of breast reconstruction they will have done. Patients can elect to either have implants, prosthetic breasts, or no reconstruction at all.
If a patient chooses to have prosthetic breasts, they will be given a breast that has been molded out of some type of plastic. The prosthetic would be placed inside of a bra for the patient to wear.
If a cancer patient opts for implants, then they will have a silicone sack implanted underneath the skin. This is similar to what is done for patients who have breast augmentation surgery.
The last option is to have no reconstruction at all. The breasts are removed and nothing is used to replace them.
It is not known what Sandra Lee has decided to do in regards to breast reconstruction.
Breast cancer can impact anyone. It is important to get regular breast exams in order to remain as healthy as possible. Sandra Lee is lucky that the cancer was found early. It was found during one of Lee's routine breast exams. She had no symptoms. If the cancer was not caught this early, then Lee would have a more serious form of breast cancer.
[Image via Getty Images]