Making the Decision to Have Breast-Conserving Surgery

Making the Decision to Have Breast-Conserving Surgery

Breast-conserving surgery may be right for you if you have any of these stages of cancer:

  • Stage 0, meaning you don't have a tumor but you have ductal carcinoma in situ.

  • Stage I, meaning you don't have cancer cells in your lymph nodes, or it is in only a few nodes, and the tumor is less than 2 cm.

  • Stage II, meaning the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under your arm and/or the tumor is 2 to 5 cm across.

  • Stage IIIA, meaning the tumor is less than 5 cm across and the cancer in your underarm lymph nodes is extensive or has spread to other nodes or tissues near the breast.

In some cases, breast-conserving surgery is an option for women with Stage IIIB or IIIC cancers as well.

Many women prefer this type of surgery to having their whole breast removed with a mastectomy. Radiation treatment is strongly recommended afterward; however, this is sometimes true after a mastectomy, too. Deciding whether to have breast-conserving surgery also depends on these factors:

  • Size and location of your tumor

  • Size of your breast

  • Certain features of your mammogram

  • How you feel about preserving your breast

Keep in mind that even if you are able to have breast-conserving surgery, you can still choose to have a mastectomy. Also know that if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, you will have to have them removed. 

Breast-conserving surgery with radiation therapy has been shown to be as effective as a mastectomy for Stage I and Stage II breast cancer. Discuss your options with your doctor.

 

 

 

 
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