A diagnosis of breast cancer comes with a range of emotions and decisions for patients.  Dr. Christian Zwick, of Quincy Medical Group, specializes in the treatment of breast cancer patients and provides options that improve both the well-being and quality of life for women seeking reconstructive options.

“Our primary goal is to cure the patient of the cancer,” Dr. Zwick explained.  “We want to make this as seamless as possible for patients.  It’s a tough time for them. I want there to be as little as possible to remind them that they had breast cancer in the first place.  These procedures help that visible reminder go away, so that patients can get on with their lives and feel good about themselves. “

Dr. Zwick offers three procedural options to patients.  Each of the procedures is fairly new to the region, and improves the cosmetic outcome associated with breast cancer.  These procedural options include oncoplastic surgery, hidden scar breast surgery, and skin and nipple sparing mastectomy. The method chosen depends on each patient’s circumstances and location of the breast tumor.

Oncoplastic surgery utilizes techniques that not only completely remove the cancer from the breast, but utilizes tissue rearrangement to lessen or negate the deformity in the breast.   Hidden Scar Breast surgery is a technique that Dr. Zwick has used for several years now, and is utilized to hide scars and natural lines present all over the body or in areas that are either not seen or are not as obvious.  Skin and Nipple Sparing Mastectomy allows patients requiring or choosing a mastectomy to preserve all of the skin including the nipple providing a better cosmetic outcome.   This option typically involves immediate reconstruction or replacement of the breast with an implant of some type.

In addition to these procedures, Dr. Zwick said many patients want to minimize the possibility of getting cancer back in the breast where they had the cancer, as well as the chance of it occurring in the other breast.  These patients have the option to do skin and nipple sparing mastectomy on the breast with cancer, and risk reducing mastectomy on the other.  “Patients want to take care of the problem they have with a good cosmetic outcome so they can get on with their lives.  This is certainly something we can offer them,” he said.  “There’s no way that I or anyone else can take someone’s breast cancer risk away completely, but we can lessen it markedly, so it’s very unlikely to have breast cancer come back or develop cancer later in life.”

There are also certain conditions that increase a person’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, even though they don’t have breast cancer yet.  These patients may also choose to have surgery and reconstruction before they have a chance to develop breast cancer.

Assisting Dr. Zwick with these procedures is the utilization of intraoperative ultrasound to help localize the area of the breast cancer, which allows for a more precise approach.  “This is very important in allowing me to obtain what is called a clear margin,” he explained.   “We need to be sure that all of the breast cancer has been removed to ensure that it does not come back.  The more certain we are of these margins, the less likely the patient will require more surgery.”

Quincy Medical Group takes a team approach in guiding patients through their treatment.  Partnering with both the Plastic Surgery and Oncology departments at QMG, Dr. Zwick said patients can feel assured that their care is looked at from all angles. These procedures are an advancement to breast cancer treatment and offered right here in Quincy. “We want our patients to feel like there’s just no reason to be anywhere else. We’ve got a great team here,” he said.  “We can take care of everything right here.  We want patients to be here where their family and support mechanism is.  We want to keep it all here.