Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy – Which is a better option?
Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are almost immediately recommended to make major treatment choices. Two of the most common options given to patients with breast cancer, are to either remove the cancerous tissue in the breast or to remove the entire breast. The former option is known as lumpectomy and the latter mastectomy.
Lumpectomy immediately followed by radiation is said to be as effective as mastectomy, for patients suffering with only a single site of cancer having a tumor that is under 4 cm. It is also important that no cancer cells exist in the tissues surrounding the tumor.
Although in general, most women who are given a choice, tend to move toward invasive lumpectomy surgery. The main reason women tend to opt toward the choice of a lumpectomy or even a double mastectomy is the hope that it will reduce the risk of recurrence of the cancer. So, which is a better option? Read on to know the differences between the two treatment plans and make an informed decision.
Lumpectomy: Advantages and disadvantages
The main advantage of undergoing a lumpectomy is that this procedure can help in not just preserving much of the appearance but also the sensation of your breasts. This is a less invasive surgery and hence your recovery time too is shorter when compared to a mastectomy.
Lumpectomy has a few potential disadvantages that you must be aware of that are the following:
- You surgeon will most likely recommend at least five to seven weeks of radiation therapy after the surgery to make sure the cancer is fully gone. This may entail therapy five days a week.
- Radiation therapy can affect your reconstruction options as well as reconstruction timing. In some cases it can also affect your options of being able to undergo additional surgeries to lift or balance your breasts.
- In the case there is a recurrence in the same breast after the lumpectomy procedure, the breast may not be able to tolerate additional radiation safely. If you are diagnosed with a second cancer in the same breast, your surgeon may recommend a mastectomy.
- There is a higher risk of a local recurrence of the cancer after this procedure.
- During the surgery, the surgeon will remove the cancer tumor along with some margins, which is nothing but the normal tissue around it. This sample is sent to a pathologist who will check if there are any cancer cells in the margins. If cancer cells are found in the margins, more tissue will need to be removed. Since analyzing the margins takes at least a week’s time, you may have to undergo re-excisions if needed.
Mastectomy: Advantages and disadvantages
Many women select a mastectomy as it renders greater peace of mind. According to statistics, removing the entire breast unquestionably reduces the possibility or recurrence of the cancer. However, in some cases, radiation therapy may be needed, depending on the results of the pathology.
A few of the disadvantages of this surgery are enlisted below:
- Mastectomy is a longer and more extensive procedure and has several post-surgery side effects. The recuperation time too is much longer.
- When you undergo a mastectomy, you must remember that there is no going back. There will be a permanent loss of your breast.
- You will need a number of surgeries additional to mastectomy in order to reconstruct your breast if you choose to undergo a mastectomy.
Make a well informed decision
Your breasts are an important part of your identity, and it is but natural that you will want to preserve them. Weigh your options wisely and take a second opinion before you make this pivotal decision.
Bear in mind that your decision will play a crucial role in your overall health and chances for a full recovery. Contact Dr. Wydell L. Williams, Jr., at Desrt West Surgery for a consultation at 702.383.4040. He will be able to help diagnose your symptoms and suggest the best treatment suitable for you!