Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy

The breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy is thought to be as effective as mastectomy in patients who have cancer in only one site in the breast with the size of the tumor smaller than 4 centimeters. However, patients also have the option of mastectomy in advanced breast cancers and to prevent the cancer from coming back. Is lumpectomy a better choice for you, or mastectomy?

Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy

Deciding Factors

  • If you want to preserve your breast then lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is your choice of treatment.
  • If you want to have good cosmetic result after surgery with both the breasts matching each other in size then also lumpectomy should be your choice of treatment.
  • If you are anxious about recurrence of breast cancer, then you should have mastectomy as with mastectomy the risk of recurrence is reduced.

Some of the less personal factors that affect your choice of surgery:

  • According to research females living in USA are more likely to opt for mastectomy due to attitudes of these females and their physicians.
  • Old surgeons are more likely to perform mastectomy as mastectomy was the standard breast cancer treatment procedure until the mid-1980simage001.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Lumpectomy and Mastectomy





  • No need of radiation therapy
  • No risk of recurrence in the same breast
  • The risk of local recurrence in the chest wall is comparatively low
  • As the breast is absent, the need for follow up mammograms and biopsies is not there.
  • The major advantage of lumpectomy is preserving the breast which could have positive psychological impact on a patient.
  • Moreover, in early stages of breast cancer, lumpectomy combined with radiation therapy is enough to fight away the caner.


The greatest disadvantage is that the breast is lost, which can have negative psychological effect on a female. However, reconstruction techniques could restore the cosmetic appearances for most patients.

  • Lumpectomy has to be followed by radiation therapy which may take up to 6 weeks to finish.
  • The risk of recurrence is greater
  • It requires regular follow-ups with mammograms, ultrasounds and MRI’s in some cases.
  • Patients who have a positive margin of the lumpectomy tissue may have to undergo a second surgery, which also do not guarantee complete clearing of the margins.


Making Your Own decision

You can go to any length to preserve your breasts as they form such an important aspect of your identity, of being a female. The approach has to completely acceptable to you regardless of your age or figure; however, it should not put your overall health in jeopardy.

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