Lumpectomy – Other terms used for lumpectomy are breast conserving (or breast saving) surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the part of the breast containing a tumor or lump, and some of the normal tissue that is around it. All the tissue that is removed from the breast is carefully examined to see if there are cancer cells in the normal tissue that was removed around the tumor or lump. The outer edge of this tissue is also called the margins. If cancer cells are found in this tissue within the margins, more surgery is needed to remove the rest of the cancer. After lumpectomy, it is generally advised that women receive 5 to 7 weeks of radiation treatment to get rid of any cancer cells that may be in the remaining breast.
The size of the lump is a key issue in deciding between lumpectomy and mastectomy. While different studies show different results, in general, lumpectomy is more likely to be effective when the lump is less than 1 to 2 cm is size. Before a woman decides between lumpectomy and mastectomy (removal of the entire breast), she should consult a doctor who specializes in breast care, and get a second opinion from another breast care expert. It is also important to select a surgeon who is skilled in doing breast surgery.