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When a Mastectomy May Be a Better Choice Than a Lumpectomy

 When a Mastectomy May Be a Better Choice Than a Lumpectomy

Facing a breast cancer diagnosis is frightening. It’s a journey that can involve tough decisions about your treatment options, but the good news is that you don’t have to navigate it alone.

Two of the most common surgical procedures for breast cancer are mastectomy and lumpectomy. Elvira Klause, MD, FACS, is a leading surgical oncologist in Laguna Hills, California, and she’s here to help you weigh your options and make the best choices for your needs.

Each approach has its merits in fighting breast cancer. In this blog post, we’re taking a closer look at mastectomy and when it might be a better choice than a lumpectomy.

Understanding mastectomy

A mastectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your entire breast, and over 100,000 women undergo mastectomy each year. There are a few different types of mastectomy, including:

Total (simple) mastectomy

Total mastectomy involves removing your entire breast, including breast tissue and overlying skin. Nearby lymph nodes and chest muscles remain.

Modified radical mastectomy

A modified radical mastectomy removes your entire breast, along with some lymph nodes under your arm. A radical mastectomy involves removing chest muscles as well, but this method is less common today.

Skin- or nipple-sparing mastectomy

Skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy involve removing most breast tissue, but preserving your overlying skin, your areola, and/or your nipple. This method must be combined with immediate breast reconstruction.

The decision to opt for a mastectomy is multifaceted. Dr. Klause helps you understand your options based on your health factors, including the extent of the cancer, the presence of multiple tumors, genetic predisposition, and your personal preferences.

Understanding lumpectomy

A lumpectomy, on the other hand, is a breast-conserving surgery that removes only the tumor and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue. The primary goal of a lumpectomy is to preserve your breast while effectively treating the cancer.

When to consider mastectomy instead of lumpectomy

Lumpectomy can be an effective breast cancer treatment, but it may not be the best option in every situation. Dr. Klause may recommend mastectomy instead of lumpectomy based on:

Tumor size and location

If you have a tumor that’s relatively large compared to the size of your breast or it’s in a more difficult location, a lumpectomy may not deliver the best results. Mastectomy could be a safer choice to ensure we remove all cancerous tissue.

The extent of the cancer

Multiple tumors within the same breast can be difficult to treat with lumpectomy. Even if the tumors are small, mastectomy may be a comprehensive option to address all the cancerous tissue.

Your genetic background

Family history plays a key role in your risk of breast cancer. BRCA gene mutations in particular significantly increase your risk of breast cancer. If you have a BRCA gene mutation or a strong family history of breast cancer, a mastectomy may be a better option to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence.

Breast cancer treatment is highly personal, and Dr. Klause takes the time to understand your health needs and your preferences before making a surgical recommendation. It's essential to have open and thorough discussions with your health care team, so you can make informed choices that align with your specific circumstances.

For more information about breast cancer surgery options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Klause and our team in Laguna Hills, California. Request an appointment online or call us at 949-245-6910 to get started.

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