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Lumpectomy (breast conservation therapy) for breast cancer

Video: Talk Cancer - Lumpectomy versus a mastectomy

Dr. Dennis Citrin, a medical oncologist who specializes in treating breast cancer, discusses lumpectomy and mastectomy procedures.

What is a lumpectomy?

Breast conservation therapy or breast-conserving surgery allows a woman to keep her breast. The term lumpectomy (also called partial mastectomy or quadrantectomy) refers to a procedure that involves selective removal of a tumor from the breast. A lumpectomy differs from a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast.

Lumpectomy: Meeting your individual needs

Not all breast cancers are amenable to breast conservation therapy. Factors such as size and location of the cancer, size of the breast, and willingness to undergo adjuvant radiation, determine whether a lumpectomy is possible. Your breast surgeon will guide you through the decision-making process.

Prior to the lumpectomy, a radiologist may perform an ultrasound and place a small wire directly into the area of the tumor, allowing your surgeon to locate and remove the tumor more efficiently. Some women may receive chemotherapy before surgery (neo-adjuvant chemotherapy) to reduce the size of the tumor and make breast conservation therapy possible.

We will also likely recommend radiation therapy during and/or following surgery to help prevent recurrence. Some woman are candidates for intraoperative radiation therapy, which typically limits the amount of radiation treatments needed after surgery.

During the lumpectomy, your breast surgeon will work directly with a pathologist to analyze the tissue and confirm the cancer is removed completely. Your breast surgeon may also perform oncoplastic surgery, an innovative procedure that uses specialized techniques to remove a breast tumor and reshape the breast in one surgery.

Throughout your treatment, your care team will provide integrative oncology services, such as nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation and spiritual support. These therapies can help reduce side effects and improve your overall quality of life.

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