A woman’s physician will work with her to determine if a lumpectomy is the appropriate decision. Physicians consider many factors, including:
- Size and location of the mass
- Type and stage of the breast cancer
- Size of the breast
- Patient’s preference
A lumpectomy is the removal of the breast cancer and a portion of normal tissue surrounding the mass. When performing the procedure, the surgeon may also remove some lymph nodes from under the arm to determine if the cancer has spread, this is called a sentinel node biopsy. If your surgeon cannot feel the lump to be removed, the radiologist will be asked to insert a guide wire into your breast prior to surgery to pinpoint the area of concern; this is called a needle-localization.
Generally following a lumpectomy, radiation treatment is administered to destroy any cancer cells that may not have been removed during the surgery.
Lumpectomy surgery is a more conservative approach to treating breast cancer than a complete mastectomy.
During a lumpectomy, less natural breast tissue is removed than with a mastectomy, leaving the patient with less pain, less disfiguration and a faster recovery.