A lumpectomy is surgery to remove cancer from the breast. Your doctor will make a small cut (incision) and take out the cancer. The whole breast will not be removed. The doctor will try to also take a small amount of normal tissue around the cancer. This is known as "getting clear margins." Some people will need another surgery to be sure the margins are clear. The doctor may also check the nearby lymph nodes during the surgery.
After a lumpectomy, you will probably go home the same day. Most people can go back to work or their normal routine in 1 to 3 weeks. This depends on how you feel. It also depends on the type of work you do and whether you need more treatment. This may include radiation or chemotherapy. Most people who have a lumpectomy for cancer also get radiation treatment.
The surgery will leave scars. Sometimes it leaves a dent in the breast too. Most women will look normal in a bra. But your breasts may not match in size or shape after surgery. This depends on the size of your breasts. It also depends on how much tissue was removed.
When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. You also can do things at home to make yourself feel better while you go through treatment. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333) or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Laura S. Dominici, MD - Surgery, General Surgery, Oncology
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