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Breast Lump Removal (Lumpectomy)

Lumpectomy:

  • It is the surgical removal of a cancerous lump inside the breast. A biopsy can show a lump in the breast is cancerous.
  • The goal of the procedure is to remove the lump and some healthy tissue around the tumor to help ensure that all cancer cells are gone.

Preparation:

  • Physical examinations and imaging with X-rays or mammography. The goal is to determine the size and shape of the tumor.
  • A few days before the surgery, you’ll meet with your surgeon. During this meeting, tell your surgeon about any allergies and medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. You should also mention if you’re pregnant or you think you may be pregnant. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking any blood thinners up to a week before your surgery. 
  • You’ll also need to fast and avoid drinking liquids for up to 8 to 12 hours before surgery.

Recovery:

  • When you wake up, you can expect some pain in the incision area. You’ll be given medication for the pain.
  • In the weeks following surgery, you’ll need to restrict your activities. It takes time to heal.
  • The stitches may dissolve on their own or your doctor will remove them during a follow-up appointment.

If radiation therapy is necessary, it typically starts within a few weeks of a lumpectomy procedure.

In rare cases, depending on the size of the lump removed, you may choose to have breast reconstruction surgery. This is done after any radiation therapy is complete. However, most women don’t need reconstruction after this type of surgery. That is one of the advantages of lumpectomy.

If you have a large tumor and are very concerned about having symmetrical breasts, talk to your doctor about options before surgery. Your surgeon may recommend a mastectomy. A mastectomy may also be recommended if you’re concerned about the cancer returning or if you don’t want radiation. You might need additional surgeries if the whole tumor wasn’t fully removed during the initial surgery.

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