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What is the difference between a mastectomy and a lumpectomy?

A lumpectomy is a type of breast-conserving surgery that removes only the breast lump and some normal tissue around it. Radiation treatment is usually given after this type of surgery. If chemotherapy is also going to be used, the radiation may be put off until the chemo is finished. If there is cancer at the edge (called the margin) of the piece of tissue that was removed, the surgeon may need to go back and take out more tissue.

A mastectomy involves removing all of the breast tissue, sometimes along with other nearby tissues. A small percentage of women who get a mastectomy will also need radiation therapy afterward.

Many women with early-stage cancers can choose between lumpectomy and mastectomy. In most cases, a woman’s survival chances are about the same with either surgery.

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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.