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Excision of Breast Mass: Is a Lumpectomy Right for You?

Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD · Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital


Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Jul 15, 2022

Excision of Breast Mass: Is a Lumpectomy Right for You?

Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring type of cancer among women. Fortunately, those who have been diagnosed, especially during the early stages, have multiple treatment options. One of these is a lumpectomy or excision of breast mass.

One of the first instincts upon diagnosis, is to remove your breast entirely (mastectomy). But lumpectomy allows you to keep most of the breast tissue and its overall shape. No case of breast cancer is exactly the same, so it’s important to consult with your doctor first.

If you’re weighing your treatment options, read on to know more about this procedure.

What Is a Lumpectomy?

A lumpectomy or the excision of breast mass, is a surgical procedure in which the tumor, along with the surrounding tissue, are removed. Unlike a mastectomy, this treatment preserves the natural appearance and shape of your breasts. This is why it is also called a partial mastectomy.

If surgery goes well, recovery time will only take about a month. However, there are cases wherein after the surgery, you may still have to go through chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.

Who Can Have a Lumpectomy?

While it is a common surgical procedure, not all women are qualified for a lumpectomy or excision of breast mass. You can only be a candidate if:

  • The tumor is relatively small, measuring less than five centimeters in diameter
  • There is enough breast tissue that will remain to properly reshape your breast
  • You are able to undergo surgery, as well as undergo follow-up radiation treatment
  • You are still in the early stages of cancer
  • The tumor can only be found in one area of the breast
  • You do not have serious connective tissue diseases or inflammatory conditions

A lumpectomy or excision of breast mass comes with all types of risks, so it is best to confirm with your doctor if this truly is the best option for you.

How Is a Lumpectomy Done?

The excision of breast mass involves several steps. Here’s what to expect before, during, and after the procedure:

Before the Surgery

If the tumor cannot be seen or felt, an x-ray of your breast will be taken to review the cancer area. Doctors can then design the surgical procedure. Sometimes, your surgeon may draw markings on your breast to show where the incision will be made.

If the tumor is larger than expected, you may have to undergo a combined team approach surgery called oncoplastic lumpectomy. This removes more than 20% of the breast volume. This approach will involve your surgeon performing surgery on the other breast to reduce its volume to match the size of the breast the tumor was removed from.

During the Surgery

You will be given anesthesia and then the process will begin. Following the natural curve of your breast, an incision will be made to remove the tumor, as well as a margin of the healthy breast tissue. This is to ensure that no cancer cells are left behind.

After the excision of breast mass, small marking clips will be then placed into the lumpectomy site to help know where to focus the radiation. The incision will be sewn back together.

Typically, lumpectomy procedures last for only an hour or two. 

After the Surgery

Unless lymph nodes are also taken out during the surgery, staying overnight in the hospital won’t be necessary. You will probably be given prescription medication to help with the pain, and instructions on how to care for the bandage.

Are There Any Risks or Complications? 

Just like any surgical procedure, lumpectomy or the excision of breast mass also come with risks. Here are some of them:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Soreness
  • Hard scar tissue on lumpectomy site
  • Changes in breast appearance and shape

In the case you notice any bruising or swelling, as well as fluid buildup under the skin, call your doctor immediately. This might be an infection.

Aftercare Tips for Quick Recovery

Recovery time after having an excision of breast mass will take at least a month. To help you recuperate, here are some tips you should follow:

  • Surgeries can drain you, so rest as much as possible.
  • Wear a well-fitted, supportive bra to minimize movement.
  • Take pain medication as recommended.
  • Opt for sponge baths until your sutures have been removed.
  • Begin arm exercises only if your doctor has allowed it.

Key Takeaway 

A lumpectomy or excision of a breast mass is a procedure to remove a tumor in the breast. It is the best option for women who wish to preserve more of their breast’s natural appearance and shape. While the process is generally common and takes little time, some women will still have to undergo chemotherapy or hormonal treatments, to make sure the cancer won’t come back. Always consult with your doctor on which cancer treatment procedure is best to avoid complications.

Learn more about Breast Cancer here.

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

John Paul Abrina, MD

Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital


Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Jul 15, 2022

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