Lumpectomy (or breast conserving surgery) is a surgical procedure which removes an area of cancerous or concerning tissue, surrounded by healthy or normal breast tissue. Most of your breast will be spared, including the nipple and most of the skin.
You may be considered for a lumpectomy if the size of the cancer is small enough, relative to the size of your breast, and if the cancer is confined to one specific area in your breast. The goal of a lumpectomy is to remove the entire tumor while leaving your breast with its natural look and feel.
Depending on your breast cancer diagnosis, your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes during your lumpectomy surgery to determine if your cancer has spread. Your chance of breast cancer survival is the same with a lumpectomy as it is with a mastectomy.
During a traditional lumpectomy, your surgeon will place an incision over the site of the tumor. You may be left with a visible scar on your breast.
Hidden Scar Lumpectomy
In a Hidden Scar lumpectomy, your scar will not be visible when you look in the mirror or when someone else sees your breast. Your surgeon will hide the incision in one of three locations:
- the natural crease under your breast (called the inframammary fold)
- around your nipple areolar complex
- in a skin crease in your armpit (called the axilla). Ask your surgeon if you’re a candidate for Hidden Scar lumpectomy or find a Hidden Scar trained surgeon here.
Most breast cancer patients require radiation treatment after a lumpectomy. Radiation therapy reduces the chances of the cancer recurring. If you’re considering having a lumpectomy, ask your surgeon if you’ll need to have radiation therapy.
Choosing Between Lumpectomy and Mastectomy:
With early stage breast cancer, you often have a choice in which surgical procedure to have. There are benefits to consider for both lumpectomy and mastectomy. A lumpectomy leaves most of your natural breast but will likely require radiation therapy. While a mastectomy removes all of the breast tissue, you may not need radiation therapy. The stage of your cancer, family history, genetic testing and your lifestyle are all important factors to discuss with your surgeon when deciding between lumpectomy or mastectomy.