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Lumpectomy

Lumpectomy is a surgery to remove a cancerous lump in the breast or other abnormal breast tissue.

Lumpectomy is also called breast-conserving surgery because, unlike a mastectomy, only a portion of the breast is removed. The goal of lumpectomy is to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue while still maintaining the appearance of the breast.

During the procedure, a small amount of normal tissue around the lump in the breast is also taken to help ensure that all the cancer or other abnormal tissue is removed. How much of the breast is removed will depend on the size of the lump and where it is located. In some cases, the surgeon may also remove some of the lymph nodes under the arm to determine if the cancer has spread there.

Why Lumpectomy is Done

Lumpectomy is used to help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of breast cancer. It is also a first treatment option for some women with early-stage breast cancer or a lump in the breast that is small and localized. Studies have shown that, in early-stage cancer, lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is as effective in preventing a recurrence of breast cancer as removal of the entire breast, or mastectomy.

In situations where breast cancer is confirmed, lumpectomy is typically followed by radiation therapy to the breast to help reduce the likelihood of cancer returning. Some patients may get other treatments as well, such as hormone therapy or chemotherapy.

When Lumpectomy is Not Appropriate

You may not be a suitable candidate for lumpectomy if you:

  • Have cancer spread throughout your breast and overlying skin
  • Have a history of scleroderma, a condition that hardens the skin and affects healing
  • Have a history of systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory disease that can worsen with radiation therapy
  • Have previously had radiation therapy to the breast region

Finding a Team of Breast Cancer Specialists

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, the Saint Barnabas Medical Center offers a caring, multidisciplinary team of breast specialists – including medical oncologists, breast interventional radiologists, breast surgeons and radiation oncologist – who are dedicated to providing the highest level of treatment for breast cancer.

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