Why it's done
The goal of lumpectomy is to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue while maintaining the appearance of your breast. Studies indicate that lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is as effective in preventing a recurrence of breast cancer as removal of the entire breast (mastectomy) for early-stage breast cancer.
Your doctor may recommend lumpectomy if a biopsy has shown that you have cancer and that the cancer is believed to be small and early stage. Lumpectomy may also be used to remove certain noncancerous or precancerous breast abnormalities.
Your doctor may not recommend lumpectomy for breast cancer if you:
- Have a history of scleroderma, a group of diseases that harden skin and other tissues and make healing after lumpectomy difficult
- Have a history of systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory disease that can worsen if you undergo radiation treatments
- Have two or more tumors in different quadrants of your breast that cannot be removed with a single incision, which could affect the appearance of your breast
- Have previously had radiation treatment to the breast region, which would make further radiation treatments too risky
- Have cancer that has spread throughout your breast and overlying skin, since lumpectomy would be unlikely to remove the cancer completely
- Have a large tumor and small breasts, which may cause a poor cosmetic result
- Don't have access to radiation therapy