Breast conservation surgery

Breast conservation surgery

Overview

Breast conservation surgery, or breast saving surgery, spares as much of the breast as is safely possible when breast cancer is present.

There are two types of breast conservation (tissue-sparing) surgery. These include a lumpectomy and a partial (segmental) mastectomy.

Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is the removal of the breast cancer and a portion of normal tissue around the breast cancer lump.. The surgeon may also remove some of the lymph nodes under the arm to determine if the cancer has spread. The bean-shaped lymph nodes under the arm (also called the axillary lymph nodes) drain the lymphatic vessels from the upper arms, the majority of the breast, the neck, and the underarm regions. Often, breast cancer spreads to these lymph nodes, enters the lymphatic system, and spreads to other parts of the body. Radiation therapy is often given after a lumpectomy to destroy cancer cells that may not have been removed during the lumpectomy procedure.

Partial mastectomy

A partial (segmental) mastectomy involves the removal of the breast cancer and a larger portion of the normal breast tissue around the breast cancer. The surgeon may also remove the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor and some of the lymph nodes under the arm. The bean-shaped lymph nodes under the arm (also called the axillary lymph nodes) drain the lymphatic vessels from the upper arms, the majority of the breast, the neck, and the underarm regions. Often, breast cancer spreads to these lymph nodes, enters the lymphatic system, and spreads to other parts of the body. Radiation therapy may also be given after a partial mastectomy to destroy cancer cells that may not have been removed during the partial mastectomy procedure.

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