Early Breast Cancer Treatment
Women with breast cancer can consider early treatment with radiation therapy and other effective surgeries to improve the outcome. Women considering early breast cancer treatment must weigh the pros and cons of having a lumpectomy and radiation therapy or mastectomy alone. With these options, women also have the choice of when to consider breast reconstruction.
Lumpectomy vs mastectomy
Before deciding on a breast cancer treatment option, patients must understand what each surgery means. A lumpectomy can conserve breast tissue after radiation, but a mastectomy completely removes the breast. A lumpectomy is typically performed before radiation therapy. The treatment can produce just as effective results as a mastectomy for patients with one cancer site and tumors under 4 centimeters. For a lumpectomy, the tumor must have a clear border, meaning there are no cancer cells surrounding the tumor.
Keeping breast tissue
Many patients prefer less invasive lumpectomy due to the ability to retain some of the breast tissue. Alternatively, a mastectomy alone would remove the entire breast.
Matching breast sizes
Cosmetic considerations can also come into play. A lumpectomy typically doesn’t result in too much cosmetic damage. For larger lumpectomies, breast sizes can differ after the surgery. Breast reconstruction surgery is available for both a lumpectomy and mastectomy.
Level of invasiveness
Patients worried about recurring cancer can opt for a full mastectomy to give additional peace of mind. Doctors may walk patients through worries to determine whether a mastectomy is optimal to prevent cancer from coming back.
Lumpectomy pros and cons
A lumpectomy is a more minimally invasive surgery than mastectomy, and therefore, requires shorter recovery time. With a lumpectomy, however, patients must undergo up to 7 weeks of radiation therapy, which can affect reconstruction surgery options. The risk for developing a recurrence is higher with a lumpectomy.
Mastectomy pros and cons
A mastectomy can allow patients to reduce the risk of local recurrence by eliminating a large part of the cancerous area. Because of the invasiveness of the procedure, patients take longer to heal, which can delay reconstruction surgery.
Personalized breast cancer treatment
Breasts are a part of a person’s identity and daily function. Choosing between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy is not an easy decision, but the final decision must consider the patient’s overall health and the chance for a complete recovery. For more information, speak with a plastic surgeon.