Early-Stage Breast Cancer: Choosing Your Surgery



About This Website

If you’ve come to this website, you’re probably at a crossroad. You may be making a medical decision about which path will lead to the treatment that’s best for you, or you may be looking for the best way to participate in your care.

This website has been carefully researched and written to help you find the right path for you.

About This Decision

You have a choice in breast cancer surgery. Whether you have mastectomy (removal of the breast) or lumpectomy (removal of the tumor) with radiation will not make a difference in how long you live.

But there are other important differences between the surgeries. How you feel about those differences is key to which treatment will be best for you.

This website is intended to support you in making a decision about breast cancer surgery. The goal is to help you sort out how you feel about the differences between mastectomy and lumpectomy with radiation.

Is This Information for You?

This website is for women with early-stage invasive breast cancer (Stages I and II) who are able to choose either mastectomy or lumpectomy.

It is not intended for women with certain medical conditions that may limit or otherwise influence their treatment options. These include:
  • Pregnancy;
  • Health problems that make anesthesia or surgery life-threatening;
  • DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ;
  • LCIS, lobular carcinoma in situ; or
  • Inflammatory breast cancer.
The program is also not for women with cancer in certain locations. This includes women with:
  • Tumors fixed to the chest wall,
  • Cancer in more than one part of the breast,
  • Cancer in lymph nodes near the collarbone,
  • Cancer with extensive growth in underarm lymph nodes, or
  • Cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph node area.
Women who have breast cancer that is related to genetic mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) may have to consider other factors when choosing their treatment. These mutations increase the risk of developing cancer in either breast.

Diagnosis and Decisions »