Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy: Which is Right for You?


Mastectomy and Lumpectomy are the procedures used for breast cancer treatment. Both procedures can prove effective for you, but they both have unique benefits and risks.

A mastectomy removes the breast, but a lumpectomy maintains it. To determine which is best for you, consult a breast cancer oncologist. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider your tumor’ location and stage as well as personal traits like breast size.

Let’s see both and study which can be the right choice for you.


In mastectomy, the treatment of breast cancer is done by removing the entire breasts.

When it comes to mastectomy, there are 5 types of procedures:

  • Simple (total): During this treatment, your doctor removes the entire breast but does not remove any lymph nodes in your underarm or the muscle beneath it. Women who want to avoid developing breast cancer should undergo a straightforward (total) mastectomy.
  • Modified Radical: This mastectomy involves removing the whole breast and some lymph nodes. However, no muscles are eliminated. Doctors undertake this type of mastectomy to inspect the lymph nodes and detect whether the cancer has spread beyond the breasts.
  • Radical: This kind of mastectomy is the most intrusive. During a radical mastectomy, the chest muscles, underarm lymph nodes, and entire breasts are removed. This treatment is only advised if breast cancer has progressed to the muscles in the chest.
  • Partial: Here, the doctors remove part of the breast affected by the cancer and the surrounding tissue.
  • Subcutaneous: This type is also known as nipple-sparing mastectomy, the nipple is preserved here but all breast tissues are removed during this procedure.

Benefits of Mastectomy

Mastectomy will bring peace of mind to the patient. Removing the entire breast will prevent the cancer from reoccurring, lowering the risk of needing additional surgeries.

In addition, radiation therapy, which can be uncomfortable and time consuming, is usually not necessary for patients who have had a mastectomy.

Mastectomy Risks

A mastectomy is more invasive than a lumpectomy, necessitating a lengthier hospital stay. Your recuperation may take longer, and you may also have some adverse effects, such as:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Numbness in chest or arm
  • Limited Mobility
  • Nerve pain
  • Blood buildup at the surgery site

Also, in mastectomy permanent removal of the breast is done, which can have psychological effects as well. Many women choose to go for breast reconstruction after mastectomy, which is again a costly process and has a longer recovery time.


A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure that removes breast cancer while maintaining the breast. A lumpectomy aims to restore the breast to its original appearance.

During this operation, your doctor will remove the tumor and any afflicted tissue. Other names linked with this operation are:

  • Breast-conserving energy
  • Biopsy
  • Re-excision

Once the procedure is completed, the doctor will check to make sure all cancer has been removed. If all cancer has been removed successfully, the procedure will be considered successful. If not, your doctor may have to remove additional tissue. In more severe situations, a lumpectomy may not be a possibility.

After a lumpectomy, you’ll probably require radiation therapy (RT) to kill any cancer cells that remain and prevent recurrence.

This procedure is suitable for patients with a less invasive form of cancer. Doctors may advise a mastectomy if the tumor is too big or if the cancer has spread throughout the breast.

Benefits of Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy requires a smaller surgical incision than a mastectomy. By concentrating on the damaged tissue, the procedure helps to maintain the natural contour of your breast. A lumpectomy can often be performed the same day, allowing you to go home after the procedure.

Lumpectomy Risks

Lumpectomy has a high risk of recurrent cancer. You will require another surgery if, following a lumpectomy, your cancer returns.

People who go through lumpectomy may also need to get Radiation Therapy (RT) to make sure all the traces of the cancer are gone. The person must go through Radiation Therapy 5 days a week for seven weeks.

There are other side-effects as well due to the Radiation Therapy, which are as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Damage to surrounding tissues
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Skin reactions like redness, itching, or soreness.

Which One is Right for You?

Mastectomy and lumpectomy are two surgical operations carried out on patients suffering from breast cancer, and the choice of the operation depends on various factors. The factors to consider include the size of breasts, symptoms they experience, the duration of healing, and the patient’s consent to radiation.

In the initial or early form of the disease, one can undergo lumpectomy which takes out the affected area and retains the complete breast but requires radiation therapy later. If they have other breast diseases as well which are more severe, or they are diagnosed with a little advanced cancer they might have to undergo mastectomy to enhance the removal of the tumor.

Mastectomy provides peace of mind with lower recurrence risk, but it requires a longer recovery period and may have a psychological impact. Such a decision should, however, be made after consulting with the doctor to discuss the diagnosis, general health status, as well as the best course of action.


Mastectomy or lumpectomy; which operation procedure must be preferred mainly depends on the stage of cancer and size of the tumor. Lumpectomy preserves the breast but the individual must have radiation; while mastectomy brings a positive result and lower recurrence but takes time to heal. To make an informed decision that fits your medical needs and priorities, talk to your doctor about your options.