One of the most challenging decisions a woman with early stage breast cancer may need to make is whether she will have a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy. A lumpectomy is the removal of just the cancerous tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. A mastectomy is traditionally the total removal of a woman’s breast (however, today there are more options, such as a nipple-sparing mastectomy). Research suggests that the choice does not impact a woman’s long-term survival prognosis. That means, ultimately the decision is about quality of life, not quantity.
Let’s face it: there’s no great option here. Nobody wants radiation or its long-term side effects. Nobody wants to lose a breast or to face such an invasive surgery.
That’s why we keep coming back to this topic here at I’m Taking Charge. We don’t have answers. We simply seek to make sure the facts get into every woman’s hands so that she can be empowered to make the right decision.
Take a look at this infographic, and please share it. Knowledge can mean the difference between regret and peace later down.
Mastectomy vs Lumpectomy Basic Facts
More on Choosing Between a Mastectomy and a Lumpectomy
As I mentioned above, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about the mastectomy vs lumpectomy dilemma. In fact, one of our most popular articles ever is Lumpectomy or Mastectomy: How to Decide. It holds a more detailed breakdown of the pros and cons.
It may also be worth listening to our 3-part podcast interview with a Mayo Clinic surgeon, discussing how a woman chooses between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy. She really provides a fantastic perspective as a surgeon who watches women struggle with this decision every day.
Most importantly, you need to know there isn’t a single right decision. Or a single wrong decision. This choice isn’t easy, and there will be long-term side effects, regardless of the decision you make. You are facing cancer. That’s a big deal. You’re going to change from this whole ordeal.
But the good news is most women survive, and either treatment can get you to that point. So make the decision that your gut says fits you.
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