Breast-conserving surgery removes the cancer and surrounding tissue. The goal is to take just enough tissue so that the breast looks as normal as possible after the surgery, but the chance of the cancer coming back is low.
The size and location of tumors differs from one person to another, so the amount of tissue removed during surgery also varies. Breast-conserving surgeries are either lumpectomies or partial mastectomies and may or may not include lymph node removal.
- Lumpectomy is the surgical removal of the breast lump and some of the tissue around it. The lump is removed in one piece and sent to the lab for examination.
- Partial mastectomy is more extensive. It is the removal of the area of the breast that contains cancer, some of the breast tissue around the tumor, and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor.
- Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed during breast-conserving surgery. This is done with a separate incision. If cancer is found in those lymph nodes, more lymph nodes may be removed.
For an appointment with an MD Anderson Cooper breast cancer expert, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).