Women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or breast cancer that can be removed with surgery have two main options: breast-sparing surgery and mastectomy. After diagnosis, you and your breast cancer treatment team including your oncologist(s), a breast cancer surgeon and many times a radiation oncologist, will meet and discuss the best option for you, including the type and the timing of the surgery. Your doctor will also discuss the benefits and risks, how surgery may alter the way you look, and whether or not you’ll need additional treatment after surgery.
Breast-sparing surgery means the surgeon removes only the cancerous mass and some normal tissue surrounding it. The surgeon will also typically remove one or more lymph nodes from under your arm to test them and determine if the cancer has spread into your lymph system. This determination is likely to affect your treatment options.
With breast-sparing surgery, your breast will typically look like it did prior to surgery. Other words for breast-sparing surgery include:
Almost all women also receive radiation therapy after a lumpectomy. The main goal of this treatment is to keep cancer from recurring in the same breast. Some women will also need chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted therapy.
In a mastectomy, the surgeon removes the whole breast that contains the cancer. There are two main types of mastectomy:
Some women will also need radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted therapy after having a mastectomy.
If you choose to have a mastectomy, you may wish to wear a prosthesis (breast-like form) in your bra or have breast reconstruction surgery, which is surgery to rebuild the shape of the breast.