Procedures

Our Procedures

Lumpectomy

Lumpectomy is a conservative breast cancer treatment in which the tumor/abnormal breast tissue and a small amount of surrounding tissue are surgically removed.  A lumpectomy is also called a wide excision biopsy, quandrantectomy, or breast conserving therapy.  It is called the latter because lumpectomy allows women to maintain most of their breast after surgery.  Mastectomy, on the other hand, is the surgical removal of the entire breast and, often, surrounding structures. 

Lumpectomy is often performed on women with localized breast cancer and may be suitable for women with breast cancer in situ, and stages I, II, and III breast cancers.  Studies have found that for a majority of these women, lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy provides an equal breast cancer survival rate as mastectomy. 

During a lumpectomy, the surgeon will remove the abnormal tissues and a small margin of surrounding tissue.  After the lumpectomy, a pathologist will test the excised tissues to ensure that all of the cancerous tissues were removed.  This is done by checking to see if the edges of the tissue are all "clear" or free of anomalies.  A preliminary test can be done during a lumpectomy procedure to determine if all the abnormal tissues have been removed.  Only the later pathological test can confirm that all the tissues were removed.  If the outer tissues contain abnormal cells, additional surgery may be required to remove these tissues. 

Lumpectomy is often followed by additional treatments.  A full course of radiation treatment, at least six weeks long, is typically recommended following lumpectomy.  This ensures that all the cancerous cells are destroyed.  Preliminary studies suggest that the duration of radiation therapy following lumpectomy may be reduced with equal effectiveness.  Chemotherapy, hormonal drug treatments, and other therapies may also be used following a lumpectomy. 

Some patients with breast cancer may not be good candidates for lumpectomy cancer treatment.  The following may be poor candidates for lumpectomy:

  • those who have previously underwent radiation therapy for the breast or chest
  • those who had a lumpectomy that did not remove the entire tumor
  • those with more than one tumor in the breast
  • patients with connective tissue disease
  • women who would be pregnant at the time of radiation therapy
  • patients with a tumor larger than two inches in circumference
  • and women with a large tumor in respect to breast size

Patients who are interested in learning more about lumpectomy should speak with their doctor to learn more about the drawbacks and benefits of this breast cancer treatment and whether or not this treatment is right for them.