A positive breast cancer diagnosis comes with a number of important decisions. The amount of time you have to mull over your options will depend on your individual situation. Regardless, your breast cancer surgeon in Houston will be happy to discuss all of your surgical options with you to help you understand the potential benefits of each option. Let’s examine a lumpectomy vs. mastectomy.
Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy
There are many surgical variations used to remove cancerous tissue from breasts, but two of the most recognizable categories are lumpectomies and mastectomies. Generally speaking, lumpectomies are a more targeted surgical removal, and mastectomies usually require the removal of most, if not all, breast tissue.
In order to better understand what these two options offer, let’s discuss the primary differences between lumpectomies and mastectomies.
What Is a Lumpectomy?
A lumpectomy is a procedure that is designed to remove the tumor from the breast. Other tissue is not normally removed during this process except for a small portion, which is used to ensure that the margins surrounding the tumor are clear.
Why Choose a Lumpectomy?
Lumpectomies can be slightly less traumatic for some people, as the visible difference is less noticeable and scars can usually be hidden. Lumpectomies almost always spare the nipple unless the tumor has infiltrated that complex tissue.
Reconstruction after a lumpectomy can also be slightly easier outside of specific circumstances. Depending on the size of the removed lump, a fat transfer alone may be sufficient to create symmetry between the breasts again.
Why Some Don’t Choose a Lumpectomy
The major downside of a lumpectomy is the fear that the cancer may return. Modern surgery is far more advanced than the previous generation, but the presence of breast tissue and a past history of cancer is enough to make some patients wish to remove the threat entirely.
Who Is Most Likely to Benefit From a Lumpectomy?
It is important to note that a lumpectomy may not be appropriate to your situation if your cancer is more advanced. Lumpectomies are reserved for people who are in the early stages of cancer and have isolated tumors.
If your cancer has spread throughout the breast or metastasized to other nearby structures, then a lumpectomy is unlikely to work for your situation. Some variation of the procedure may be possible, but you will need to discuss the specifics with your surgeon.
What Is a Mastectomy?
A mastectomy is a radical procedure that removes the entirety of one or both breasts. This often includes the nipple as well as the underlying muscle, but there are variations of the surgery that can spare some structures. You can discuss these options prior to your mastectomy in Houston.
Why Choose a Mastectomy?
Some people choose a mastectomy because their cancer is more advanced. And others may choose this approach to give themselves peace of mind. Without breast tissue there can’t be breast cancer, and that assurance is enough for some people.
Why Some Don’t Choose a Mastectomy
When a total mastectomy isn’t required for cancer treatment, many people choose a less radical procedure. A mastectomy comes with:
- A long recovery
- Permanent physiological consequences
- And a number of reconstruction surgeries if you want to create the appearance of breasts
Who Is Most Likely to Benefit From a Mastectomy?
If your cancer has spread beyond an isolated tumor, then a mastectomy may be the best way to ensure that you are cancer-free following treatment. In addition to those with advanced cancers, patients with a family history of breast cancer or a genetic predisposition to breast cancer may gain relief by choosing a total mastectomy or a slightly more forgiving version of the procedure.