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Deciding between mastectomy and lumpectomy

South Texas Breast Surgery doctor explains breast cancer surgery options

· breast cancer,Breast Surgeon,Mastectomy

There are two basic types of surgery to remove breast cancer: 

Lumpectomy (also called breast conserving surgery) removes only the tumor and a small portion of surrounding healthy breast tissue, but saves the majority of the breast, including the nipple area. 

Mastectomy is the surgical removal of breast tissue. There are several mastectomy options: a simple (total) mastectomy, skin sparing mastectomy and nipple sparing mastectomy (NSM). 

What are the key considerations when determining whether mastectomy or lumpectomy is the best treatment option for the patient?

When the breast cancer is more extensive or the tumor size is out of proportion, a mastectomy may be a better surgical option compared to breast conserving surgery. 

However, a patient who is a candidate for lumpectomy based on tumor size and location may still choose to have a mastectomy for a variety of reasons. Many patients opt for mastectomy over breast conserving surgery because they do not want to worry about recurrence. For example, patients who are BRCA mutation carriers may have a higher risk of local breast recurrences after breast conserving surgery, and have an increased incidence of a second cancer during their lifetime; therefore, these patients may choose mastectomy.

As with all treatment decisions, patients should partner with their cancer treatment team to choose the best option for them.

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