Mastectomy or Lumpectomy Procedure: What’s the Best Treatment for You?
The following article discusses different breast cancer surgical solutions – mastectomy and lumpectomy procedure.
Breast cancer treatment options are rarely easy to select. Many patients learn that they have more autonomy when it comes to their medical decisions than they either expected or are even comfortable with. We tend to think that our physicians will simply take the reigns with regard to our treatment, but very often we are faced with the difficult choice to either undergo either a lumpectomy procedure (also known as a partial mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery), or a mastectomy. In some cases the treatment route is clear – if there are numerous tumors that cannot effectively addressed through a lumpectomy procedure, for example – but what about when it isn’t?
If you are struggling to determine which procedure will be right for you, here are reasons why some women choose a lumpectomy procedure, and why some women choose mastectomy.
If your surgeon is confident that the mass is contained and was caught early, a lumpectomy may be a viable and less stressful option than full mastectomy. Although every patient will have different medical circumstances, a typical lumpectomy procedure will take less than one hour. If lymph nodes do not need to be removed, the patient may not require an overnight hospital stay.
Recovery time post-lumpectomy isn’t especially lengthy for most patients; after a few days of rest, normal – though not strenuous – routines can resume. This could be an attractive option for women who are unable for professional or personal reasons to devote several weeks to recovery. However, radiation therapy may be required, and patients considering a lumpectomy procedure may have to undergo several weeks of daily treatment.
While the surgery may remove the mass, some surrounding tissue, and possibly some skin, many patients find that that the change in the appearance of the breast isn’t particularly severe, and reconstruction can always be performed in the future.
A mastectomy is the full removal of one or both breasts. Women who have serious concerns about cancer recurrence often choose single or double mastectomy over a lumpectomy procedure. They might also want to minimize post-operative follow-up treatment, and the potential for additional surgeries. Some women may also want to avoid radiation therapy and its sometimes severe side-effects.
Mastectomies are, however, inherently more radical than lumpectomies, and require significantly longer recovery time. In some cases, patients will still require radiation therapy.
Whatever you decide, it is important to have a comprehensive consultation with your physician about all of the benefits and drawbacks of the different options. You may also want to talk to other breast cancer survivors to learn about their real-world experiences post-procedure. Remember: Information is empowering. Give yourself every opportunity to make the best decision for your health, your identity, and your lifestyle.
If you have concerns about your breast health, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Bedford Breast Center for an immediate consultation today.