A lumpectomy, or partial mastectomy, is a type of breast-conserving surgery that is performed to remove cancerous breast tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible in place. A lumpectomy is not appropriate for every breast cancer patient, and when it is performed, the amount of tissue removed can vary greatly depending on the extent of the cancer. To make the best and most informed choices with regard to early breast cancer treatment, a patient is advised to learn about all available options and discuss them in depth with a trusted oncologist.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive, multispecialty approach to breast cancer treatment, which may include a lumpectomy or another type of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or a combination thereof. Each patient’s treatment plan is developed, administered and monitored by a collaborative team of oncology specialists who focus exclusively on treating breast cancer, and all aspects of cancer treatment are available in a single location at Moffitt. The talented members of our tumor board work together to make individualized, evidence-based recommendations to ensure the best possible treatment. As a result, each patient receives the benefit of multiple expert opinions – and the peace of mind that goes along with them – without having to obtain referrals and travel to the offices of various specialists.
"Breast conserving surgery, consisting of lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy (RT), is an excellent option for appropriate candidates with early stage breast cancer."- Melissa Mallory, MD
If a lumpectomy is determined to be an option for a patient, the knowledgeable professionals at Moffitt will explain in detail how the procedure differs from mastectomy. In general:
- A lumpectomy involves the surgical removal of a tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue, while mastectomy is the surgical removal of an entire breast.
- Because a lumpectomy removes less breast tissue than a mastectomy, the breast shape, skin and nipple can sometimes be preserved.
- Following the completion of a lumpectomy, a pathologist will evaluate the tumor margins. This involves the examination of a sample of the healthy tissue that was removed along with the tumor. If no cancer cells (negative margins) are identified, the lumpectomy is considered to be a success. On the other hand, if the margins contain cancer cells, further surgery may be required.
Radiation therapy is often recommended after a lumpectomy is performed in order to attempt to destroy any residual cancer cells in the remaining breast tissue. The researchers and clinicians at Moffitt are working continually to develop and refine radiation delivery methods to ensure pinpoint accuracy and precision. As a result, we achieve highly successful outcomes for breast cancer patients who undergo lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy.
Medically Reviewed by Melissa Mallory, MD, Breast Surgical Oncologist, Breast Oncology Program.