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Lumpectomy vs. mastectomy

Published On: Sep 27 2013 10:52:29 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2013 09:10:13 AM CDT
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When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer one of the decisions she might have to make is whether to have the tumor removed through a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.

Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a less invasive procedure, but it may not be an option for everyone. During a lumpectomy doctors are able to remove the tumor while conserving the breast. According to BreastCancer.org, a lumpectomy – followed by radiation – is likely to be just as effective as a mastectomy for people who have a tumor under 4 centimeters and for those who only have cancer in one site in their body.

According to BreastCancer.org, some things people should keep in mind when deciding if a lumpectomy is right for them are: if they want to keep their breasts; if they want their breasts to match as close as possible in size (there are reconstruction techniques available if there is a significant change in breast size after the lumpectomy); and if they will be more anxious about cancer returning if they don’t remove the entire breast.

Some benefits to a lumpectomy are that the surgery is less invasive than a mastectomy, the breast will for the most part preserve much of its appearance, and the recovery time is shorter.

If a person opts for a lumpectomy, they will need to undergo radiation, according to BreastCancer.org. The radiation might impact the timeline of reconstruction, if needed. Another factor to consider is that, according to BreastCancer.org, once a person undergoes radiation, they cannot safely have radiation to that same location in the body again. So if the breast cancer were to return, a person would not be able to have radiation again. If that happens, a doctor would usually then recommend a mastectomy, according to BreastCancer.org.

Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a more invasive procedure than a lumpectomy, as it involves removing the entire breast.

Some people may prefer a mastectomy because it makes them less anxious that the cancer will return.

A mastectomy can be more costly than a lumpectomy, and it could require follow-up surgeries to reconstruct the breast if the patient chooses to go so, according to BreastCancer.org.

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