Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Surgery and Your Emotional Health

Our breast care team has knowledgeable, trustworthy surgeons who care about your emotional health and your long-term well-being.

Breast Cancer Surgery with Hidden Scar

Ascension doctors and nurses work quickly to identify and diagnose breast cancer early, but we need your help. Remember to schedule your annual mammogram and please don’t ignore lumps or breast discharge. Learn more about breast screening tests.

There are 21 different subtypes of non-invasive and invasive breast cancer. Our doctors have the expertise to analyze the molecular make-up of pre-cancerous cells and malignant tumors (for example, HER2 +/-, HR+/-, BRAC1, and BRAC2). Treatment recommendations depend on whether your cancer is slow growing or more aggressive.

The most effective treatment for breast cancer requires the optimal combination of different treatments. At Ascension, our treatment plans are personalized to meet your specific needs. Our integrated care team includes doctors, nurse navigators, dietitians, rehab therapists (physical therapists), social workers, and palliative care specialists to ensure your long-term wellbeing.

Surgical breast care – applying breast conserving, nipple sparing, and hidden scar techniques whenever possible.

Plastic surgery – coordinating breast reconstruction to achieve better breast shape side to side

Radiotherapy – targeting cancer cells (not healthy tissue) with high-beam, precision radiation

Medical oncology – using anti-hormonal therapy, oral and infusion chemotherapy to stop the tumor growth

Cancer rehab – available before, during and after cancer treatment to help patients improve daily functioning and quality of life

Palliative care – focusing on relieving symptoms, pain and stress advanced care management and other integrative services. Download this guide for patients and families.

Clinical Trials – Clinical trials are conducted at our Appleton, Oshkosh and Chilton locations.

Our hair studios at Ascension St. Elizabeth and Ascension Mercy offer hair systems for women and men.

If you receive an abnormal mammogram report or if you are concerned about your breast health, talk to us. Our doctors are highly knowledgeable and experienced. We want you to fully understand your treatment options, so you can make an informed decision.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, our Ascension cancer center triage nurse is here to assist you, 920-831-8900.

Hidden Scar Overview

Hidden Scar breast cancer surgery is an advanced approach to removing breast cancer. At Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus Cancer Center, we pride ourselves on providing our patients with the most advanced surgical options in breast cancer surgery. Our surgeons are trained and certified in oncoplastic hidden scar techniques by the Society of Oncoplastic Surgeons.

Breast cancer can be surgically removed with a mastectomy procedure (your surgeon will remove all your breast tissue) or a lumpectomy procedure (your surgeon will remove only part of your breast tissue). With a Hidden Scar approach, our surgeons place your incision in a location that is hard to see, so that the scar is not visible when your incision heals. As a result, you have little to no visible reminder of the surgery or your cancer.

The Hidden Scar approach can be performed for a mastectomy (simple and bilateral), nipple sparing mastectomy, lumpectomy or for lymph node dissection and removal procedures. The American College of Surgeons reports patients who undergo the Hidden Scar approach do not have a higher risk of cancer recurrence than patients who undergo any other type of technique. You may qualify for Hidden Scar breast cancer surgery based on the size and location of your tumor, your breast shape, and your breast size.

Want more information on Hidden Scar Procedures? Visit breastcancersurgery.com to learn more. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, talk to our Ascension cancer center triage nurse, 920-831-8900.

Hidden Scar Procedures

With a Hidden Scar procedure, your surgeon will place your incision in a location that is hard to see, so that the scar is not visible when your incision heals. As a result, you have little to no visible reminder of the surgery or your cancer.

Hidden Scar surgery is applicable for many types of procedures:

  • Lumpectomy
  • Lymph node dissection and removal
  • Mastectomy (simple and bilateral)
  • Nipple sparing mastectomy

Our surgeons have been extensively trained and are certified in oncoplastic Hidden Scar techniques by the Society of Oncoplastic Surgeons to ensure that you have the best surgical outcome.

Hidden Scar Lumpectomy

In a lumpectomy procedure, your surgeon will remove a breast cancer tumor and a small portion of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor (margin) but will save most of the breast including the nipple area.

A lumpectomy can be performed as a Hidden Scar procedure. This means that the incision is made in a place that is hard to see. There are three different locations for a lumpectomy incision that make the scar less visible:

  1. Inframammary Fold: The natural crease beneath the breast
  2. Periareolar: Along the edges of the areola
  3. Axilla: In the armpit, usually hidden in a natural fold

You may be considered for a Hidden Scar lumpectomy if the size of the tumor is small enough relative to the size of your breast, and if the cancer has not spread to other areas of the breast. Want more information on Hidden Scar Procedures? Visit breastcancersurgery.com to learn more. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, talk to our Ascension cancer center triage nurse, 920-831-8900.

Hidden Scar Nipple Sparing Mastectomy

In a mastectomy procedure, your surgeon removes a breast cancer tumor by removing all of the breast tissue. There are several mastectomy options: a mastectomy (simple and bilateral), a skin sparing mastectomy, and a nipple sparing mastectomy (NSM). A nipple sparing mastectomy is a type of mastectomy procedure were the surgeon removes all of the breast tissue but does not remove the nipple.

A nipple sparing mastectomy can be performed as a Hidden Scar procedure. This means that the incision is made in a place that is hard to see. There is one location for a nipple sparing mastectomy that make the scar less visible: Inframammary Fold: The natural crease beneath the breast

You may be considered for a Hidden Scar nipple sparing mastectomy if no cancerous tissue is found in the nipple. Additionally, a Hidden Scar nipple sparing mastectomy is a safe approach that can be used in patients seeking a prophylactic mastectomy (a mastectomy that is performed even if cancer does not exist – this may be performed if the patient has a family history or carries the BRCA gene), in women with DCIS (non-invasive cancer), or small tumors that do not lie directly beneath the nipple.

Want more information on Hidden Scar Procedures? Visit breastcancersurgery.com to learn more. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, talk to our Ascension cancer center triage nurse, 920-831-8900.

Find a Doctor

If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, talk to our Ascension cancer center triage nurse, 920-831-8900.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

It is important to have a clear understanding of your surgical options before deciding on the best treatment plan for you. At Ascension St. Elizabeth, we find that many patients do not know what types of questions to ask. We want to make sure you have all the information you need, so we have put together a list of questions for you.

We encourage you to print these questions and bring them along to your office visit.

Top Questions

  1. What type of cancer do I have and how serious is it?
  2. What are my surgical options, and why?
  3. Am I a candidate for Hidden Scar nipple sparing mastectomy or Hidden Scar lumpectomy? Are you trained in Hidden Scar procedures?
  4. Is the cancer recurrence rate the same with skin sparing or nipple sparing mastectomy compared to a simple mastectomy? After reconstruction will both of my breasts look the same?
  5. Will reconstruction to both of my breasts look the same?
  6. What will my scars look like?

Additional Questions by Topic

Questions About Your Cancer

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • How big is it? • Has it spread?

Questions About Pre-Operative Treatment

  • Do I need a 2nd opinion?
  • What kind of treatment do I need?
  • Should I have a breast MRI?
  • Is my cancer genetic?
  • Do I need to be tested for breast cancer genes?
  • How quickly do I need surgery?

Questions About Lumpectomy

  • If I have a lumpectomy, can the cancer come back in my breast?
  • Is lumpectomy as good as mastectomy?
  • Am I a candidate for a Hidden Scar lumpectomy?
  • Will I need lymph node surgery if I have a lumpectomy?
  • Will I get a big swollen arm if you take out my lymph nodes?
  • Are you trained in Hidden Scar Lumpectomy techniques?

Questions About Mastectomy

  • Are there different kinds of mastectomies?
  • Can you save my nipple?
  • Am I a candidate for skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy?
  • Am I a candidate for Hidden Scar nipple-sparing mastectomy?
  • Are you trained in Hidden Scar techniques?
  • Can the cancer come back after mastectomy?

Questions About Post-Operative Treatment

  • Is surgery all I need, or do I also need radiation and/or chemotherapy?
  • I have heard sometimes I need a 2nd operation. When would that happen to me?
  • Will I need plastic surgery?
  • Can I have reconstruction?
  • Who does the reconstruction?
  • What are the different types of reconstructions?

Our hair studio at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital and Ascension Mercy Hospital have hair systems for both women and men.

Featured Locations

  • Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus

    To get great care for your everyday life, visit us today to receive compassionate, personalized care.

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    920-738-2000
  • Michael D. Wachtel Cancer Center

    To get great care for your everyday life, visit us today to receive compassionate, personalized care.

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  • Ascension Calumet at Chilton

    To get great care for your everyday life, visit River District Family Practice - Algonac where you’ll receive compassionate, personalized care.

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    920-849-3800