Most people with breast cancer have surgery to remove the cancer. You may have breast-conserving surgery or surgery to remove the entire breast. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed to check for cancer cells.
The kind of surgery you have may depend on the size and location of your cancer and your personal preferences.
- Opens New Window Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast-Conserving Surgery or a Mastectomy for Early-Stage Cancer? Opens New Window
Surgery that allows you to keep your breast
- Reference Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), which is the removal of the lump in the breast along with some of the tissue around it.
- Reference Partial or segmental mastectomy, which is the removal of the area of the breast that contains cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor.
Talk to your doctor about what your breast might look like after the surgery.
Removal of the breast (mastectomy)
Reference Mastectomy procedures include:
- Total or simple mastectomy, which is the removal of the whole breast.
- Modified radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscles.
- Radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm (Reference axillary lymph node dissection). This surgery is rarely used.
After mastectomy, a new breast can be reconstructed. Your surgeon will rebuild the shape of your breast using artificial implants or tissue from other parts of your body.
If you want breast reconstruction, talk to your doctor before your surgery is planned. You may be able to have breast reconstruction immediately following your mastectomy.
Or your doctor may suggest that you wait until later for breast reconstruction if you are going to have further treatment, such as radiation. If so, you may want to use a Reference breast prosthesis until you have your reconstruction.
- Opens New Window Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy? Opens New Window
For more information about reconstructive surgery, see the topic Reference Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health