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Is a mastectomy always the best option to treat breast cancer?

Mastectomy is an option for surgical treatment. If a tumor is small, less than 4 centimeters, and does not have locally advanced features such as skin involvement, a patient can have a lumpectomy with the same survival as mastectomy. Most patients are equally good candidates for both procedures.  

Mastectomy is not always the best option to treat breast cancer. The surgical aspect of breast cancer care is a case of less is more. Radical mastectomies are hardly ever done nowadays, and even modified radical mastectomies have given way to lumpectomies followed by radiation. Fewer and fewer lymph nodes are needed to make the diagnosis of metastatic disease (spread), and these more advanced cases now have available a much larger array of drugs to treat cancer located outside of the breast.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.