There are various options for treatment if a tumor has been detected in the breast. One procedure known as breast conservation therapy is a lumpectomy.
You can talk to your doctor to find out if a lumpectomy is an option for you. It may not be recommended if:
- you have already had radiation in the affected breast
- you have multiple cancers or extensive cancer
- you have a small breast and a large tumor
- previous attempts to remove the tumor were unsuccessful
- you cannot tolerate or undergo radiation
A lumpectomy can be performed under local or general anesthesia and usually lasts about an hour.
- Your doctor will make an incision in the breast and remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue.
- This tissue is sent to a lab to determine the type of tumor and if it has spread to the lymph nodes.
- Your doctor may also examine the lymph nodes during the surgery.
- A rubber tube may also be inserted into the breast or armpit to collect and remove fluid from the area.
You will likely receive radiation therapy after the lumpectomy. This helps eliminate cancerous cells that remain in the breast. If there are cancer cells in the tissue that is removed, your doctor may perform a re-excision, or surgery to remove more tissue.
After the procedure, you may have some swelling and tenderness in the breast. An infection and buildup of fluid or blood in the wound may also occur. The breast that underwent surgery may be shaped slightly differently than the other.
According to two 2002 studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, women with small breast cancers treated with lumpectomy and radiation were just as likely to be alive and disease-free after 20 years as those who had mastectomies.
The Surgeons at North Carolina Surgery are leaders in breast care with convenient, timely and personalized services. Our experts will be there with you during your entire treatment process, from examination and counseling to surgery and follow-up treatment. Trust us to be here for you and provide the most supportive, compassionate care available.
For more information on lumpectomies, visit the following Web sites: BreastCancer.org or the American Cancer Society.