Breast-Conserving Surgery (Lumpectomy or Partial Mastectomy) for Breast Cancer
Breast-conserving surgery removes the cancer and surrounding tissue. The goal is to take just enough tissue so that the breast looks as normal as possible after the surgery but the chance of the cancer coming back is low.
The size and location of tumors differs from one person to another, so the amount of tissue removed during surgery also varies. To make it simple, you can think of two general breast-conserving surgeries: a lumpectomy and a partial mastectomy. Reference Lumpectomy Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window is the surgical removal of the breast lump and some of the tissue around it. The lump is removed in one piece and sent to the lab for examination.
Partial mastectomy is more extensive. It is the removal of the area of the breast that contains cancer, some of the breast tissue around the tumor, and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. A Reference sentinel lymph node biopsy removes just a few lymph nodes to be examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If cancer is found in those lymph nodes, more lymph nodes will be removed. If the tests done before your surgery suggest that there is cancer in the lymph nodes near the breast, several lymph nodes will be taken out during your surgery. This is called an axillary lymph node dissection.
Most people who have breast-conserving surgery also have Reference radiation therapy Opens New Window. You may also have Reference chemotherapy Opens New Window, Reference hormone therapy Opens New Window, or both.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: June 28, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology