Making the Decision to Have Breast-Conserving Surgery
Breast-conserving surgery may be right for you if you have any of these stages of cancer:
Stage I, meaning you don't have cancer cells in your lymph nodes, or it is in only a few nodes, and the tumor is less than 2 cm.
In some cases, breast-conserving surgery is an option for women with Stage IIIB or IIIC cancers as well.
Many women prefer this type of surgery to having their whole breast removed with a mastectomy. Radiation treatment is strongly recommended afterward; however, this is sometimes true after a mastectomy, too. Deciding whether to have breast-conserving surgery also depends on these factors:
Keep in mind that even if you are able to have breast-conserving surgery, you can still choose to have a mastectomy. Also know that if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, you will have to have them removed.
Breast-conserving surgery with radiation therapy has been shown to be as effective as a mastectomy for Stage I and Stage II breast cancer. Discuss your options with your doctor.