Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Lumpectomy and oncoplastic breast conservation surgery for breast cancer

What is a lumpectomy?

The term lumpectomy (also called partial mastectomy or quadrantectomy) refers to a procedure that removes a tumor from the breast. A lumpectomy differs from a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast. Women who undergo a lumpectomy are usually recommended to receive radiation therapy following surgery to help prevent recurrence. Some women are candidates for intraoperative radiation therapy, which typically limits the amount of radiation treatments needed after surgery. Commonly referred to as breast conservation therapy, a lumpectomy when coupled with radiation therapy is designed to allow a woman to keep her breast.

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What is oncoplastic breast conservation surgery?

Oncoplastic breast conservation surgery adds an aesthetic approach to lumpectomy by reshaping or rebuilding the breast to maintain a natural look and feel. This type of surgery not only removes the cancer, but is also designed to prevent excessive scarring following surgery and radiation.

With this multidisciplinary approach, the surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon work as a team, collaborating on a strategy to remove the cancer in a way that takes into account incision placement and the long-term aesthetic appearance of the breast. Plastic surgery techniques such as breast lift, breast reduction or local flaps are commonly used in these types of operations. Surgery on the other breast may also be performed to create or improve symmetry.

In addition to preserving a healthy physical appearance, oncoplastic breast conservation surgery may also help women heal emotionally after cancer surgery—restoring feelings of confidence, self-esteem and femininity.

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, help determine whether a lumpectomy is possible. Some women may receive chemotherapy before surgery (neo-adjuvant chemotherapy) to reduce the size of the tumor and improve the chances of breast conservation therapy. Your breast surgeon will guide you through the decision-making process.

Throughout your treatment, your care team will provide supportive therapies, 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.