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Lumpectomy: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 15, 2024

What is the treatment?

Alternative names for this type of surgical procedure include breast conserving surgery or even wide local excision.

How is the treatment done?

Lumpectomy is a form of surgical treatment that is offered to women who have breast cancer. It involves the removal of the cancerous tumour (lump) present in the breast. The doctor tends to remove some normal breast tissue that surrounds the tumour as well. This form of cancer treatment is commonly known as a breast “conserving” or “preserving” surgery.

This type of surgery is least invasive and only removes a part of the breast tissue. It is known to be highly effective, preventing the cancer from recurring the future.

On occasion the procedure can be concentrated on the area of the tumour only, in this case it is known to be experimental. Experimental or non-standard lumpectomy is mostly suggested for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at its earliest stages. For patients whose breast cancer is at its initial stages two forms of treatment may be offered- Lumpectomy and internal radiation or Lumpectomy followed by close observation.

The doctor will suggest lumpectomy if the tumour is very small in comparison to the patient’s breast size or the tumour is situated in such a place that it can be easily removed, or if it has affected only a certain breast region.

Radiation therapy follows lumpectomy treatment. Radiation is given in order to kill any cancerous cells that are still present in the affected area.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Why is lumpectomy performed?

The procedure aims to remove any cancerous tumour while still maintaining the shape of the breasts. Unlike a mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed, in case of a lumpectomy only the tumour and the surrounding tissue is removed. The procedure is also done for the removal of non-cancerous tumours or suspicious tumours in the breasts.

The treatment for lumpectomy starts with a mammogram or a breast biopsy, to determine the location of the tumour. A special wire may be placed near the region where the tumour is to guide the doctor during the procedure. If the tumour in the breast can be easily felt through the skin, this wire placement is not necessary. Before the surgery, the patient will be given general anaesthesia. An incision will be made near the location of the tumour and it will be removed along with some surrounding tissue. The doctor may also remove the sentinel lymph node or eve axillary lymph nodes for biopsy. The incision will then be closed and stitched.

The lymph nodes are generally removed during this surgery so that doctors can determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or not.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Women who opt for this procedure generally have a cancerous tumour in their breast which is 5cm in diameter or even less. Their breasts should have enough tissue, so that the appearance is not much altered if a bit of the tissue is removed. They should also have medical approval to undergo this surgery and radiation after.

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Are there any side effects?

Lumpectomy may not be suitable for you if you have scleroderma. This is a condition that makes the skin and tissues hard. This condition will make recovery after the surgery difficult.

Those who have systemic lupus erythematosus are also ineligible for the procedure. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that can worsen with radiation.

Women who have 2 or more than 2 tumours in different parts of their breasts should opt for a mastectomy instead of this procedure.

If a patient has already had breast radiation treatment in the past years, lumpectomy is not an option for them. The radiation treatment after the procedure will prove to be very risky.

If a patient has a large tumour and extremely small breasts, a mastectomy makes more sense.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Some side effects of the surgery include- bleeding and infection in the area the incision was made, pain, tenderness or soreness of the breasts, temporary swelling, hard tissue formation at the site of surgery and change in the shape of the breast.

How long does it take to recover?

Once the procedure is done the patient is shifted to the recovery room, where the blood pressure, breathing and pulse is monitored for some time. Very often patients also have lumpectomy as an outpatient procedure and are released once they gain consciousness.

Post surgery some pain and soreness in the operated area should be expected. A patient should get plenty of rest and take her medicine on time. Take a sponge bath until the stiches and bandages are removed by the doctor. Wear a bra that offers good support and start with arm exercises as instructed by the doctor.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

After the surgery you will feel soreness for about 3-4 days. The bruising will take about 3-6 months to heal. Patients are generally allowed to resume day to day activities after 1-3 weeks of the surgery.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The procedure In India costs around 3,000 U.S $

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

If the tumour and surrounding tissue is properly removed, the results are quite permanent. If not the cancer may reappear.

References

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Written ByDr. Ojas Potdar MBBS,DNB GENERAL SURGERYGeneral Surgery
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