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Breast-conserving Surgery

Studies have shown that women with early-stage breast cancer who have a lumpectomy to remove the cancer followed by radiation live just as long as women who have a mastectomy and may be preferred by many women. The standard of care after breast-conserving surgery is external beam radiation therapy. Often, this follows chemotherapy.

  • Your surgeon will perform an operation called a lumpectomy, also called a partial mastectomy, excisional biopsy or tylectomy, to remove the tumor. In some cases, a second operation called a re-excision may be needed if microscopic examination finds tumor cells at or near the edge of the tissue that was removed (called a positive or close margin).
  • To see if your cancer has spread, your doctor may remove several lymph nodes from under your arm (axilla). If any of these nodes contain cancer cells, more nodes may be removed.
  • Breast-conserving surgery is not suitable for all breast cancer patients. Talk with your surgeon to see if this is the best procedure for you.