Lumpectomy is a surgery where a cancerous or benign tumour is removed from a breast along with some surrounding tissues. The amount of tissue removed varies according to the nature of the tumour. It is a form of breast-conserving surgery. It is also called a partial mastectomy.
Lumpectomy is the first option of treatment for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.
What is the goal of lumpectomy?
Lumpectomy aims to remove the cancerous cells from the breast and at the same time maintaining the appearance of the breast. Studies have proved that for early stage breast cancer, lumpectomy is as effective as mastectomy (complete removal of the breast).
Doctors may recommend lumpectomy to remove precancerous cells as well.
Pre lumpectomy measures-
If you are under any other medication or if you suffer from allergies, inform your doctor. Other pre-surgery measures include-
• Stop taking aspirins or any pain relieving medication
• Your doctor will recommend you to not drink or eat anything 8-12 hours prior to the surgery.
A mammogram and a biopsy reveal the exact location of a tumour. Lumpectomy is performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon makes a small incision over a tumour to extract the cancerous cells and the surrounding tissues. Sometimes doctors have to perform sentinel lymph node surgery or axillary node dissection.
The surgeon then closes the incisions with sutures. The sutures may dissolve over time or may have to be extracted later by a doctor.
If you have undergone lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, you will be discharged on the same day as the surgery as soon as your blood pressure stabilizes.
However, after lumpectomy with axillary node extraction, you may have to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days.
Therapy after lumpectomy
Your oncologist will recommend a follow-up radiation therapy to destroy the mutated cells that may have remained in the area where a tumour had developed. Radiation reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
You might also have to undergo hormone therapy. Some types of breast cancer need female hormones like estrogen and progesterone to grow. Hormone therapy inhibits the development of cancerous cells by not allowing these hormones to reach the cells.
Your doctor will advise you to avoid strenuous physical activities for at least a month after the surgery.
Lumpectomy is a safe surgical procedure that can root out tumours or precancerous cells from the breast without deforming the shape of it.