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What is a lumpectomy?

Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is the surgical removal of a cancerous or noncancerous breast tumor. A lumpectomy also includes removing a small amount of normal breast tissue around a cancerous tumor. Other names for lumpectomy include partial mastectomy, breast-conserving surgery, breast-sparing surgery, and wide excision. Doctors most commonly use a lumpectomy to treat small, early-stage breast cancer tumors in women.  

Your surgeon might also remove lymph nodes to test whether cancer has spread. A lumpectomy conserves most of the breast tissue and generally keeps the shape and appearance of the breast. In contrast, a mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast. 

A lumpectomy for breast cancer is combined with radiation treatment. Hormone treatment and/or chemotherapy may also be recommended.  

A lumpectomy is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have more effective treatment options for your type and stage of breast cancer. You may also have less invasive treatment options for noncancerous tumors. Consider getting a second opinion about your treatment choices before having a lumpectomy. 

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Aug 22, 2012

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Medical References

  1. Breast Lump. Better Medicine. http://www.bettermedicine.com/article/breast-lump. Accessed August 26, 2011.
  2. Lumpectomy. Breastcancer.org. http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/lumpectomy/. Accessed August 26, 2011.
  3. Lumpectomy. Susan G. Komen for the Cure. http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Lumpectomy.html. Accessed August 26, 2011.

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