If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you need to make a decision about treatment – which usually involves breast surgery. The surgery that follows this diagnosis is either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.
A lumpectomy, which is the removal of part of the breast, used to be the only option for women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Patients with early-stage breast cancer still have the option to choose a lumpectomy; however, in recent years, more and more women are opting for a mastectomy.
Here’s what you need to know about the two main types of breast surgery:
What Is a Lumpectomy?
A lumpectomy is an option for women who caught the breast cancer early, usually during a mammogram or manual screening, while the lump is still small. It involves the removal of a section of the breast.
This is a much shorter procedure than a mastectomy. For women who want to maintain as much of their breast as possible, it is much more agreeable cosmetically.
With a lumpectomy, it is also possible to avoid the removal of all nearby lymph nodes, depending on the size of the tumor. By leaving some of the lymph nodes, there is a reduced risk of lymphedema – which can cause swelling due to a blockage in the lymphatic system.
However, a lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation. Additionally, there is a higher cancer recurrence rate for women who undergo a lumpectomy, which means you may need to undergo a mastectomy in the future. For these reasons, the mastectomy has become more widely chosen by women diagnosed with breast cancer.
What Is a Mastectomy?
In a mastectomy, the entire breast is removed; a double mastectomy is when both breasts are removed. Many women who have been genetically tested as positive for the breast-cancer gene, especially when their own mothers and grandmothers died of the disease, opt for a double mastectomy to prevent developing the disease.
After a mastectomy, you may not require radiation or chemotherapy if the physician removed all of the cancer. However, the procedure is much more invasive and takes longer to recover than a lumpectomy. Also, since nearby lymph nodes are usually removed during the operation, there is a higher chance of developing lymphedema.
Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy
The differences lie in the appearance of the breast after surgery and the likelihood of cancer recurrence. Breast cancer tends to recur in 1% of women who underwent a mastectomy and up to 15% of women who chose a lumpectomy.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your preferences. Make sure to let your doctor know about all your concerns.
Breast Surgery in Sarasota, Florida
The Intercoastal Medical Group specializes in general surgery, including breast surgery for breast cancer patients. In our cutting-edge surgery center, we provide warm and personalized surgical care to our patients and treat you with the utmost courtesy and respect.
The goal is to provide you with a positive experience, no matter what your diagnosis is. We are a practice that cares about our patients.
To schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, you may contact us at the location near you or fill out our online request form. We look forward to seeing you here!