Partial Mastectomy - Lumpectomy

This surgery involves the removal of a cancerous lump in the breast and some surrounding tissue.

This surgery involves the removal of a cancerous lump in the breast and some surrounding tissue.

Surgery to remove a cancerous tumor is the most common treatment for breast cancer. The amount of tissue removed will depend primarily on the size of the tumor.

  • A mastectomy involves the total removal of the breast.
  • A partial mastectomy or lumpectomy involves the surgical removal of a lump and varying amounts of breast tissue. It is also called breast-sparing surgery.

The surgery your healthcare provider recommends will depend on your specific circumstances and personal preferences.

Breast-sparing surgery followed by radiation therapy is an option for some women. The decision to perform breast-sparing surgery may be based on one or more of the following factors:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • The size of the breast(s)
  • Age
  • Personal preferences
  • Menopause status
  • Overall health
  • Test results

Prior to deciding what surgery is best for you, you need to consider any personal concerns you have about:

  • Keeping or losing your breast
  • Having radiation therapy, which may be required five days a week for up to six weeks

The treatment for breast cancer is based on many factors that include:

  • Your age
  • Your menopausal state
  • The type and stage of the cancer
  • If the cancer is hormone sensitive
  • Whether the gene called HER2 is overexpressed
  • Other tests that determine the specific characteristics of the cancer

The treatments are either local (only affects the area of the cancer) or systemic (affects all areas of the body). Treatment for breast cancer usually involves a combination of local and systemic treatments.

It is best to speak with a plastic surgeon before your breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. They can help you understand your options and what your breasts might look like after surgery. To get a full range of opinions and perspectives, you may want to consider input from a variety of doctors, including:

  • Your primary care physician (PCP)
  • A medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer)
  • A surgeon with experience in breast cancer
  • A radiation oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy)
  • A genetic counselor
If your healthcare provider recommends a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, prior to surgery tell them about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before and after the surgery. These include:
  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the surgery
If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.
  • General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia for a partial mastectomy.
  • With this type of anesthesia, you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything.

It is important to remember that the total cost of this care path does not include all possible medications, lab work or imaging studies. Those charges can add up. If your healthcare provider recommends any lab work or imaging studies, you may need to search for their costs separately.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of breast cancer. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and how long you have had them. Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Your medical history, including past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations
  • Your medications (including over-the-counter)
  • Any questions or concerns you want to discuss

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having breast conserving surgery?

  • What are my treatment options? Do I need a total mastectomy?
  • Why are you recommending one surgery over another? What are the benefits and risks of each?
  • What will my breasts look like after breast-conserving surgery?
  • What types of normal breast changes should I expect to occur over time?
  • What are the possible complications?
  • What can I expect if I decide not to have this surgery?
  • What is your surgeon's experience in doing this type of surgery? What is your complication rate?
  • How long will it take me to recover? How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activity?
  • Will I be receiving other treatments before or after my surgery?

Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home.


Also known as:

Removal of Breast
Partial Mastectomy - Lumpectomy
Partial Mastectomy
Lobular Cancer
In Situ
HER2-Positive Cancer
ER-Positive Cancer
Ductal Cancer
Conserving Breast Surgery
Cancer of Breast
Breast Removal
Breast Reconstruction
Breast Conserving Surgery
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