Northside General Surgeons

Dr Hugh McGregor

General Surgeon & Gastrointestinal Endoscopist

(07) 3910 5150

Breast Cancer Surgery

Dr McGregor is expert in all facets of surgery for both benign and malignant breast lumps, including lymph node surgery.

He uses the most up to date and modern techniques in breast surgery, including minimally invasive breast and lymph node surgical techniques.

He was the surgeon involved in the production of a DVD resource for women with breast cancer called "Side by Side".

Most ladies with a new diagnosis of breast cancer can have both the cancer and lymph node ( the sentinel node) removed through small incisions and return home the same day. More significant surgery, including mastectomy (removal of the breast) and complete lymph node clearance usually involves a stay of one to two nights in hospital.

Dr McGregor provides this service to ladies both publically through Redcliffe Hospital and privately through various private hospitals around North Brisbane.

All ladies are discussed through the Breast Multi-displinary team meeting at Redcliffe Hospital and referrals for chemotherapy and radiotherapy made to other specialists and sites suitable for the lady concerned. Support for ladies can also be arranged via the Breast Cancer Support Service at Redcliffe Hospital.

What is Breast Cancer ?

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells.

To better understand breast cancer, it helps to understand how any cancer can develop.

Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the “control room” of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.

A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast.

Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.

Breast Anatomy

Over time, cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes, small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body. If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have a pathway into other parts of the body. The breast cancer’s stage refers to how far the cancer cells have spread beyond the original tumor

Breast cancer is always caused by a genetic abnormality (a “mistake” in the genetic material). However, only 5-10% of cancers are due to an abnormality inherited from your mother or father. About 90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and the “wear and tear” of life in general.

While there are steps every person can take to help the body stay as healthy as possible (such as eating a balanced diet, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and exercising regularly), breast cancer is never anyone's fault. Feeling guilty, or telling yourself that breast cancer happened because of something you or anyone else did, is not productive.